Today’s Tip

Here is my top for today.

For further reading, please visit : https://careersandpeople.com/2021/02/23/how-to-handle-job-application-process-in-a-professional-way/

Steps to Career Development: Series 01 

In a period when businesses in most developed countries are experiencing mass resignation of their employees, one would wonder if the topic of career development is still relevant. Yes, it is.  People are constantly graduating from college and seeking a future. Young and older professionals are relentlessly exploring opportunities for career success.

It is important to note that the great resignation did not produce idle people around the world. Rather, the pandemic made people consider what really matters to them; leading to the mass resignation of employees who moved into some other things. According to IndiaExpress, 4.5 million workers in the US left their jobs in November 2021 as reported by the US Labour Department and an estimated total of 75.1 million people in the US quit their job in 2021.

My definition of great resignation is that people are moving in mass to find or do things they find meaningful given their post-pandemic reality or journey. 

So in this piece, whether you have moved to a new job, transitioned to a new career path, or moved to a new city or country to start your dream business, you will find this useful.

Professionalism is a key attribute to have in a business or a career. Certain work traits can make someone be branded as being professional or unprofessional.  Any of these labels can produce or destroy opportunities. Say, a business deal, career progression, opportunity for promotion, salary raise, or personal brand image.

Examples of good professional traits include – the quality of work; efficiency in the discharge of work or project; respect for time (an instance, time set for a meeting or a deliverable); respect for others – colleagues, co-workers, bosses, or clients; trustworthiness; being reliable and dependable. 

In some workplaces, professionalism is being properly dressed to suit the organisation’s dress code or simply being well-groomed in appearance. 

Your guess is good as mine. Opposite of these are unprofessional traits that people would find displeasing. It is not a good thing for a co-worker or a client to say that a person cannot be relied upon to deliver on their words or depended on to get things done. Someone can make a company lose a deal or customer through unprofessional behavior. 

Benefits of professionalism include:  improves the personal brand image, can make people speak up for you when it matters, could lead to job or business referrals or other opportunities for growth and success.

Summarily, professionalism is the sum total of who you are and what you do at work or in business. Its list is more than the few examples I have listed here.  So you seek career development – think of the many ways to exhibit professional behaviours. Professionalism is a trait too important not to have for a career or business.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website www.careersandpeople.com  for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, comment, or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

My best wishes in your career journey.

How I Spent My New Year’s Eve

Isn’t it amazing that four days of the new year have already rolled by? The seconds, hours, or days do not wait. We have to move with time, do catch up, or get left behind. This is a good time (if you have not) to put a plan in place on how to manage each day or week, what you need to do, adjust or completely take out.  Some plans (written or unwritten) will help you track your progress at the end of each day, week, or month.  While setting big milestones like yearly plans is great, I am of the view that breaking such plans into daily or weekly plans helps one to stay focused, have a better chance at success and be able to assess efforts. Now to my New Year’s Eve.

Someone might read this heading and expect to read about how I spent the new year’s eve – maybe in a five-star hotel, a resort, by the beachside, or a personal retreat.   Yes, I had fun, however, it was not really about all those exotic moments, but be sure to read through the end, as I have a giveaway. 

I had a remarkable new year’s eve holding a volunteer career coaching session with a young and bright professional. Reading through her CV minutes before the scheduled session, gave me a glimpse of her career interest, prospects, and potentials. We got started and I asked:  Is your career goal after university graduation still the same or has it changed with the reality of the real world. She was frank and open in her response and throughout our conversation. I asked more questions, and shared my thoughts on some options she could consider – subject to her interest.  It ended with an assignment on things she needs to begin to do to actualize her career goal, and we agreed on the time for our next meeting.  

Career journey comes with twists and turns, and sometimes the environment can hit so hard (like the pandemic and the millions of job and business losses that came with it), that we lose sight of the best next step. However, with little help and support, the journey can be made easier and rewarding.  

It was a fulfilling and most exciting way for me to end the year doing what I love doing – being able to help someone towards achieving their goals.  Though an online session, I felt her happiness and the feeling of ‘oh I never thought about this’ from her end.  It ended with an encouraging ‘I look forward to our next session’ from her.  That hit it for me:  we have both enjoyed ourselves.

Each time I leave a session, such as this or go through a recruitment process, it reminds me of how many more people need help with career coaching, guide or counseling. We all do at different stages.  Therefore, in line with my interest to support professionals succeed in their career pursuit, I will be dedicating the first quarter of the year to offer free career coaching and counseling for at least 5 people each month.

If you or someone you know will be interested, click https://careersandpeople.com/contact to secure your date.  Once we reach the five free slots each month, others would be invoiced(:) Do not worry, we make it affordable.  Our success story is what encourages us to reach more people.  So sign-up now and waste no further time of the new year.

Want to share how you spent your new year’s eve.  Please do,  my community and I would like to read from you. Once again, I wish you the best of the new year.  Happy New Year everyone.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Thank You

The year is drawing to a close and I want to seize this awesome opportunity to thank my amazing readers and all who have interacted with my website in one way or  another.  From my heart❤️, thank you.

Let me also share this delightful news, my website is now known as careersandpeople.com. You wonder why the change? Through the help of technology, I get readership from different parts of the world, so I believe this new name will resonate with people across the world. Secondly, the new name reflects what my focus is about , which is helping people in their careers. You see – it clicks😆🔥🔥, because it is about people and careers.

Hey, it is the end of the year, no matter what plans you have lined up or what you have been up to, for the remaining few days, do not forget to spare time to rest and reflect. Both excercises are very beneficial for health and success.

I wish you a great year ahead. See you there.🛩️😁

Warm Regards

Things That Merely Occupy Space on Your CV  

If you are interested in having your CV pass the scanning test, this is for you. First, let us discuss some scenarios. Have you ever walked into a Company’s Reception or Front Office (pre-pandemic of course)? What first impression did it give you about the Company? 

I have walked into the Front Office of certain companies, and my first impression was ‘Wow, ‘these people are super organised’; for certain other companies, I was disappointed and felt there was ‘some disorganisation around here’.

Let me clarify, it was not about luxurious furniture (for either category), but in their attention to details, orderliness, near immaculate state of the decors and fittings; the professionalism and comportment of the Front Desk Officer/Receptionist, and an endearing work environment created by the first and ignored by the later.

You are wondering what a Front Office scenario has to do with the information on your CV. It is about the first impression.

Your CV gives a Recruiter the first impression of you. A very good reason, you must give great attention to details to the CV you push out there. From the content to layout, to the type and size of the font, to organisation and readability; your CV should give a good first impression about you.

Your CV provides a Recruiter a glimpse of you? Are you professional? Do you have attention to detail? My experience shows that my perception of candidates is usually not too far from the impression they provide on their CV.  

Information That Occupy Space On Your

In reviewing a candidate’s CV or resume for interview shortlisting purposes, one key interest is suitability or potential for the job role. So it is important to give enough space to sell yourself under the ‘Work Experience’ section of your CV and leave out information, such as those discussed below that merely take up space on your resume.

Age:  It is not in all cases that a recruiter is interested in a candidate’s age during the first screening/shortlisting stage. Only include this if the job advert specified certain age for the job. It would nevertheless be required for an online job application form or at a later interview stage where you would have the opportunity to specify.

Home Address: Apart from the fact that this occupies space, it puts you in a disadvantaged position if your home address is too far away from the job location, especially if you are certain you can conveniently work in that location if employed. This is because a Recruiter could be looking at location suitability (if an employer has emphasized this) in deciding during the shortlisting stage. In place of home address, include Email address, contact telephone number(s), and State as location. 

Nationality, Province, State of Origin, Town, Place of Birth, or Local Government:  Except for government or civil service jobs where any of such information may be required; or for an online job application where any of these could be required, this form of information is not necessary for your CV. In today’s ever-changing world of commerce with scarce human capital, employers are looking for problem solvers and those who will help their businesses, even if they come from the ‘moon’. Moreso, the diversity and inclusion advocacy and reality is making such information less pronounced in a recruitment process

Language:  If you are a national of a country with English as an official language, a language section where you specify fluency in English and your mother tongue for a local job is taking up space. Your language section will be more relevant if it is an international language – such as French, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian and for a job outside your home country. 

An exception is where there is a requirement for English fluency or local or mother tongue language in the job advert. An example, an international organisation could need local language skills for its operation in a country. Say a job advert in Nigeria that requires the successful candidate to be fluent in any of the local languages – Igbo, Efik, Hausa, or Yoruba; same for South Africa, India, or any other country with local mother tongues other than English or French.

However, if you are a national of a country with a language other than English as an official language, you may need to insert your language fluency including English to support your application. This also applies to persons residing in multi-racial environments such as the United States, United Kingdom and, Canada.

Photograph: There is no need to include a photograph on an already crowded CV page. It is more a distraction than an addition. Save this for when you are asked to upload a photograph. However, this can be relevant for beauty pageant applications or jobs specifically requesting an applicant’s photograph (in such a case, there are better options for upload and you can avoid having it pasted on your CV).

Lengthy List of Skills: I have seen CVs contain half a page on Skills candidates claim to have. Skills are subject to proof, and can only be proved at interviews (sometimes) and mostly on the job. Instead of using have a page listing your skills, use that space under your work experience to detail what you did on the jobs you have held and highlight some of your achievements on various jobs.

Your listed skills should include at least 3 – 4 technical skills relating to the job you apply for. An example, if you apply for the role of Microbiologist or a Quality Control Officer, you can include laboratory testing skills, research skills, numerical and analytical skills, use of computer and, any other non-technical skills (that you have). Your skills list should not be more than 6 or 12; this leaves enough space under work experience for what you have done (your experience); which invariably shows what you can do (your potentials).

Specific Country Requirements: Note that some of the categories of information addressed here may be key requirements in certain countries (for tax or immigration purposes). If you relocate to another country, it helps to download CV templates for that country and adapt your CV to fit the country’s recruitment specification; or engage an experienced Recruiter in that country to review your and adapt your CV.

Concluding, before you submit your CV for the next job opening, review it and ask yourself if:

– your CV contains the information the recruiter is looking for in the ideal candidate on your CV?  

– your CV is full of too much information not required at the first screening stage?

– if your CV can pass the few minutes scanning tests?

In the last couple of years, I have reviewed over 10000 CVs manually in the course of recruiting for our Clients, and I have seen job seekers provide too many details and most times miss out on relevant information needed at the screening stage.

This first-hand information is part of the reasons my team and I include CV reviews in our Online Career Coaching Sessions. If you will like to have your CV reviewed, click the contact button to sign-up for our online career coaching session.

I hope this has been helpful. If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources–Careers section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment, or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you

Learn Cover Letter Essentials

Ever wondered or panicked about how to put together a cover letter or cover email to support your job application. No need to worry anymore. In this section, I will share in brief, what I have called ‘Cover Letter Essentials’. Within this context, they are things or items that should not be found missing in your job application cover letter or cover emails.

It is important to note that while some recruiters are moving towards online application (which require applicants to complete job applications in an online platform, sometimes without the need for a cover letter), a large percentage of recruiters or employers still use the not too old email job application approach. This article provides tips on what to include.

So here you are, you just found this exciting opportunity that you think is fit for you, before you click your send button, be careful to note that your cover email or cover letter contains these essentials:

Subject: This can be the position you are applying for, example: Data Analyst. It could also be a phrase ‘Application For the Position of a Data Analyst’.  Avoid leaving this section empty, especially if it is an application through email;  use of generic terms such as ‘Job Title’ or ‘Application’ is neither a good practice nor will it put you in good light. Such words  would also mean nothing to a recruiter or hiring manager who is probably reviewing hundreds of emails for several positions at the same time. Generic words as subject could also mean that yours could be an unsolicited application, which may be ignored.

Introduction: Do a brief introduction – not necessarily stating your name, but a line to express your interest in the advertised role with specific mention to the role.

Body of Letter: Here is your opportunity to pitch. Briefly explain your experience and skills in relation to the role. Make it brief and no more than five to six lines.

Closing: A line to express appreciation to the recipient or let him/her know your interest in further discussion is a good way to close. An example: ‘I thank you for your time and look forward to receiving your response’.

Signature: Like in a standard official letter, always close your cover email or cover letter with a closing salutation and your name as signature. Example of closing salutations include – Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Kind Regards, and Best Regards.

There you have them. Cover letter and cover email essentials. Be sure to modify within the context of recruitment practice in your country and remember to use them when next the opportunity arises.

Conclusion: Job application is your first step to be in front of the recruiter, albeit online and on a screen, make sure you represent yourself well and never miss out on the essentials.

Next, I recommend, make your email or letter brief, except there is specific requirement for word or character length, do not write very lengthy cover email or letters.

But also very importantly, read the job application guidelines and follow the instructions provided.

Got questions, comments or experience to share, please do so in comments section below or hit the contact button.

My best wishes in your career journey.

How to Prepare for Job Interviews – Trends You Need to Know

If you recently attended job interview in a structured organisation, you would notice the continuously changing trends in the things that recruiters or recruiting organisations look out during interviews.

The business world is constantly changing so the players frequently adjust how they navigate to be able to fit, compete and survive. If you are looking to fit yourself in the business world, it is important that you equip yourself with how to make your interview a success and the constantly evolving trends in the labour market.

A successful interview boots your moral and confidence and sends positive signals to your emtions and is great for your mental health. On the other hand, an unsuccessful interview does the opposite: it is demoralising, can affect your self esteem and mental if not properly managed. It could make you to begin to doubt your capability and the confidence you have built overtime. I write from my personal experience with job search and interviews.

So if you scaled through the CV review and shortlist hurdles and finally here you are: a call or an email for an opportunity to further compete for the job, you want to put your best foot forward. I deliberately, use the word compete, yes that is what the entire job search cycle including interview is – competition.

If you are in this state, congratulations, you are a step forward. Here are some tips for you:

  • Research the Company to know its culture and prepare to discuss how you fit when related questions are raised. This because recruiters and company owners are looking for great fits technically, but more so culturally.
  • Find out more information about behavioural and attitudinal interview questions from the internet including professional platforms like LinkedIn. Read and rehearse as many of these questions as possible. Recruiters are interested in the ‘person’ who finally take up the job – will be or she be able to fit with the team or with the organisation’s way of doing things.
  • Some top questions you need to know how to answer include: tell me about your self, your leadership style especially for managerial positions; how you work in a team; communication style or skill, how you work under pressure, conflict resolution skill, work delivery approach, top past achievements that you are proud of, why do you want this job or why do you want to work with the company….. and more.
  • You may also get opportunity to be asked technical questions, it is important to read up the job description and connect your experience and skills to the job you are interviewing for and be able to relate it to how you can add value to the organisation.
  • Note that each company is different and therefore the things they look for could be slightly or largely different, such that no interview questions could be the same, except for the generic – tell me about yourself.  Therefore, your safe net, will be to research, read and rehearse as many interview questions as possible each time you submit a job application or way before you get an interview opportunity.
  • Finally, remember that it is a competition, if does not turn out as you expect, learn from the process and take necessary corrective measures, do not be hard on yourself, but try to dust up quickly and keep pushing your application out. Employers are looking for people, be assured your day will come.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Got more questions or experience to share? Remember to hit the contact link or comment below.

Job Openings in a Law Firm in Lagos Island

#We are hiring. If this is you, please see the details and the application guide below. You know someone who fits? Please share the information.

A commercial law firm in Lagos Island seeks to fill vacancies for:

(A) Mid-Associate – Litigation & Arbitration

(B) Senior Associate – Corporate Commercial

  • Client and case management experience and skills
  • Ability to attend to both commercial law and litigation issues respectively
  • Good technical legal knowledge and experience- 
  • Good writing and speaking skills
  • Strong ICT skills
  • Well-groomed, team player and strong interpersonal skills
  • Open minded, a self-driven problem solver
  • Ability to work with Partners
  • Age: 24-30 years for Mid-Associate]; 30-35 years for Senior Associate
  • Experience: 3-4 years post call experience [Mid-Associate]; 5 -7 years post call experience  [Senior Associate]
  • Remumeration is attractive and negotiable.
  • Qualified candidates should send their CVs to sbs.talents@gmail.com with the position as the subject. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Just Sow A Seed

Today I share s story of one of my exciting milestones.

When in 2019 I hosted Workplace Readiness Workshop (WRW), I was first encouraged by the smiles on the faces of our participants most of whom walked in gloomy, but left with confidence and hope, the passion with which our faculty members shared their knowledge and experience. We held three success-story-backed workshop series in 2019 and later included one-on-one monthly career counseling sessions with the support of our volunteer counsellors.

As if the demands on these were not enough, we created an  internship program, primarily to support fresh graduates with job search guide, while we expose them to workplace skills and get them involved in projects that would improve their skills and confidence. We couldn’t afford it, but we did it.

It was nothing but seeds that I and the team of volunteer faculties and counsellors sowed in the lives of these young professionals. Sometimes, what people need is our seeds to get it right.

I have been humbled by how, when I check on them through their LinkedIn profiles, I see what they have made of that little seed. A lot of them have moved on to interesting jobs, others have been able to define their career paths.

Recently, I got a text from one of these great young professionals. “Hi Afoma, I have been trying to reach you, I just got a job with a top international organisation”. lt was one of the best news ever. I called her Budding Star, when I recruited and coached her for trainee HR role for a client and she later joined our WRW program. In the course of this journey, God does send more people their way, but I remain grateful to have been a part of it.

So you sow the seeds, they or someone water it, and God will do the rest. Never miss an opportunity to sow positive seed in the lives of others in actions, words, deeds and helpful guidance.

This reminds me of my great boss, who God planted in my life, Kehinde Aina, Founder and Managing Partner, Aina. Blankson, Lp . It wasn’t bed of roses, when I worked with him; the drill was too much😄😄. But I look back and will not wish anything else.

So today, I celebrate all the young professionals who gave me a chance to be a part of their career success stories.
I thank our volunteer faculties and counsellors for the selfless support they gave me at the time.

And to my friends, bosses, colleagues, mentors, thank you for all your support through this journey.

Though I have had to close these programs, I am ever grateful to have tried and for the opportunity to support lives. #gratitude #careercoaching #careercounseling #impact #freshgraduate #youthemployment  #youthunemployment #employment Fola Adeloye, LLM, TEPK. Chuks Okoye, Opemipo Oyekanmi, Amina Lawal, Adeniyi Charles Ajayi,  Olayinka Sangotoye, Ozi Okoli, Kunle Ajagbe, Nnamdi Azike, Henry Ofurune, Obioma Ajaonu LL.B,MBA, FCIS, FCG, MIoD.

Hope you find this useful. And I hope this helps someone to remember that all your little efforts add up some day.

Esteem Regards,

How Do I Fit?

Who does not love the comfort zone? It is the safest place, but sometimes could be detrimental. 

Ever wondered about how to fit into something new?  May be you are fresh out of school and just landed your first job; or an experienced professional and expert in your field, and just got that new opportunity you have prepared for to make a change and transform an organisation. May be you have just been moved into a new role or new department within your current organisation, or migrated to a new country with culture and way of living much different your home country. You find yourself in this unknown path, exciting and promising, but you are anxious about getting it right.

First be assured that it is human to have concerns about fitting into something new, so you are not alone. The good news is, it possible to achieve success, but it requires preparation and taking the right steps.

In this section, I will some useful strategies to help you overcome your concerns and navigate your new terrain. Majorly around workplace, but these strategies can be adapted for other life situations, such as new relationships, relocation to a new city or even migration.

Observe: 

In managing your excitement of the new, take time to study your new terrain.  For a new job in a new organisation for instance, observe the culture, the norms, the value, the people and organisational behavior. This enables you to know if you truly share the same value with the organisation and how to align your values, goals behavior to fit rather than to be a misfit.

Be Informed:

Make good use of the information that you rece during company onboarding training. Personally dig deep for information from company profile, website or any other information – old or new. These can provide you with history and the journey about the organisation so far.

Don’t Rush: Evaluate:

I know, you have a mandate and you are excited about the change you can bring to the entire system or organisation, but do not rush the implementation of your ideas.  Do much more than observation and carry out a system-wide (organisation, department or group) evaluation of the goings-on. It is not an opportunity for office gossip; but take time out to hold one on one meetings or sessions with team members, colleagues or associates to get their views about the organisation or department; including its needs, challenges and their recommendeation or solutions.

Be Careful with Importation: 

It can be tempting to want to import what works in your previous job or organisation into a new one.  But remember that each organisation differs because they are made up of different people, have different goals, objectives, challenges and at different developmental stages.  So while some ideas or approaches you have used in the past could work, be sure that you have done your homework well before importing something into the new organisation or business unit.

Align:

You have observed and evaluated your new space, to fit, it is important to make efforts as soon as possible to begin to align.  Align to the culture, vision, goals, norms.  In summary align to the ways of doing things in the organisation. For simple thing as dress code, social norms, resumption hours, remote working, corporate communication and more, make efforts to align.  The more efforts you make at aligning and the members observe your sincerity and efforts, the easier it becomes for you to fit.

Participate:

Participate in organisational events and social gathering. This enables you to meet and get to know people within the organisation and exposes you to the informal setting and some unwritten norms.

Contribute:

After you have gone through these steps above (not necessarily in the order they have been listed); it is time for you to contribute. 

Strive to make an impact, to justify your employment and prove your worth.  Strive to be relevant by contributing meaningfully with your quality of work, creativity, dedication, commitment, loyalty and great work ethics.

Remember that organisations are like humans with needs and that there is a need you have been employed to solve.  So be sure to contribute and make it worthwhile for those who took a bait to have you on board.  Add value.

Conclusion:

It possible to fit in a new setting or work environment. Let me also say that sometimes, your success in that new workplace could be determined by whether you are able to fit or not. To be able to fit, requires thoughtful approach and actions. Remember that this excercise is with human environment and could present challenges or obstacles along the way. Therefore, success may not happen over time. So give yourself time to learn and to adjust.

I hope this has been helpful. If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.My best wishes in your career journey.Kind Regards,

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