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.

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,

Individual Development

Today I share a piece from one of the World’s Management legend – Peter F. Drucker  on ‘Individual Development’.

Most times and naturally so we strive to have a rank in an organisation.  And there are indeed organisations that give the rank without the responsibility or job enrichment required for growth on the job. An example, you get a supervisory role, but your superior either deliberately or inadvertently still directly supervises your own team on almost all issues.  Most times Managers make attempts to justify this, but it ought not to be where the right structure is in place and effort is made at its implementation.

There are also moments where people wrongly assume that their career growth is dependent on how challenging the organisation or business owners make their job.  They fail to bring in the required push, creativity or extra-mile needed to stand out on the job.  

Here’s Peter F. Drucker’s piece so apt and relevant for today’s organisation.

“Individual Development

The person with the most responsibility for an individual’s development is the person himself – not the boss.  The first priority for one’s own development is to strive for excellence.  Workmanship counts, not just because it makes such a difference in the quality of the job done, but because it makes such a difference in the person doing the job.  Expect the job to provide stimulus only if you work on your own self-renewal, only if you create the excitement, the challenge, the transformation that makes an old job enriching over and over again.  The more effective road to self-renewal is to look for the unexpected success and run with it.

The critical factor for success is accountability – holding yourself accountable.  Everything else flows from that.  The important thing is not that you have rank, but that you have responsibility.  To be accountable, you must take the job seriously enough to recognize:  I have got to grow up the job.  By focusing on accountability, people take a bigger view of themselves.  Strive for excellence.” 

The piece ended with ‘Strive for Excellence’. Yes, strive for excellence.   Remember social media life has not taken away the genuine and good old need organisations have to serve their customers, earn revenue, keep the business afloat, beat competition and deal with varied environmental and political challenges. Make your membership of that organisation truly count. When you strive for excellence in building an organisation, you build yourself and the greatest beneficially will be you.

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,

Interview Takeout 002

Interview Take-Out 002: Protect Your Brand

Hello Friends,

Let us look at the subject of integrity for this month’s interview takeout. My experience shows that as job seekers, we sometimes are uncertain about how much information we should share on our resume or during an interview process; what we should share or keep completely to ourselves. We want our best foot forward and do not want anything that will put us in a disadvantage.  There is a price for getting on the wrong side.   

 I see integrity as part of an individual’s character brand. It should be protected as much as we protect our fashion, clothing or general appearance.  

  • Sometime ago, during an interview, we had a candidate that mentioned a figure as his salary from his previous employment.
  • Yes, I know that there is a controversy regarding whether people should be asked about their remuneration.  I am of the opinion that a business owner or recruiter should know.  It does not necessarily mean that the individual would be boxed into his/her current or previous rate.  As you know in most cases, the employer either has a budget or a salary scale.  So information about a candidate’s salary provides both parties (recruiter and candidate) a basis for discussion. 
  • Back to my subject. In the course of our interaction, this candidate was inconsistent with the facts he presented regarding his previous job, that it became clear he had given untruthful information regarding his last pay. What do you think was our Client’s reaction? You guess.
  • Personally, I have had an experience where something I did not include in my CV (and had mistakenly taken out a qualifying clause) was taken as an integrity issue.  If you are a person of integrity, you really do not want to be in a situation where your integrity is questionable.  I felt bad with that experience, and thereafter, I found a way to craft and insert the information on my CV and relevant social media profile.

Takeout:

  • Your character brand is part of your personality and professional brand, protect it very well. You lose nothing by coming plain, simple and truthful. Some organisations would request references from a candidate’s previous employers, especially if the candidate is being considered for employment. It is important to present truthful facts about yourself and your employment history on your resume and during a recruitment process.   As a matter of policy, some CEOs or organisations would not touch or deal with persons that appear to lack integrity, because what that means is such a person cannot be trusted or his/her word cannot be relied upon. The result being that work will be affected if such a person is brought into the organisation.
  • It is also best to indicate that you would rather not disclose certain experience regarding a previous employment (rather than present untruthful fact). Recruiters will understand your preference for confidentiality.

Has this ‘takeout’ helped? Watch out for more.   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.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards.

Steps You Can Take To Manage Your Emotions During a Period of Unemployment


 

Job search is not an easy venture. It can be stressful, frustrating and lonely. The highly competitive job market, limited opportunities, national economic realities where a person plays are also contributing factors to the rate of unemployment.

I have been there. I know what it means to be searching for a job; and while you search, bills pile up and you need to take care of yourself, family or elderly parents.

Some people are lucky to live in countries where some provisions are made for the unemployed and the elderly. Some are not so lucky.  Whatever your situation is, the taste of unemployment is not good. In this write-up, I will share some steps you can take to help you as you search and wait.

Apply for Jobs Where You Have Better Chances for Interview: I made this my number one point; because in my recruiting experience over the years, I see a lot of jobseekers fall into this misstep.

Your work experience and/or educational background are part of what a Recruiter will look at to determine your suitability or potential for a particular position.

Therefore, when job hunting, focus on your areas of strength – where your work experience or educational background can boost your chances. Rather than, apply for all and any job that arrives at your feeds.  The later method gets your hope raised and dashed, when you do not get an interview invitation. Even within these two criteria, it is important to follow the job requirements in the advert, and limit your applications to majorly where you are more likely a good fit.  I used the word majorly, because sometimes, recruitment circumstances can cause a Recruiter to make an exception to the rule.

Inform Your Network: In this social media age when the norm is to burst social platforms with successes and achievements, some people are not comfortable about disclosing their life’s setbacks to their friends or network; justifiably, for fear of being looked-down upon; and no one wants to be the odd one out.  So people basically hide their pain. My view?  Forget all that. It is their time, your time will come.

So if you are unemployed or simply searching for opportunities, find a close circle within your network, including previous colleagues from past employment that you can inform about your job hunting or unemployment situation. This spreads your stream of information as they are likely to share job opportunities your way or refer you.

Engage in your Hobby: In a period of unemployment, rather than get glued to your device job searching all day, find something you enjoy doing, do it once or twice a week or more. This is not to say that you spend less time in your job search, you need to give it quality time daily.  But your hobby can also provide you some emotional soothing or offer you opportunity for creative thinking.  I particularly find myself thinking through ideas while I am running or taking a long walk. Find yours.

Manage Your Social Media Exposure: My word for this is ‘breeze in’ and ‘breeze out’ of social media platforms. Use social media on need-basis for information and job search. Do not get stuck on social media platforms reading everyone’s success. It will have an impact on your emotions if you are unemployed. I have practiced this and it helps me stay focused on my goals.

Volunteer: Find ways to volunteer for a cause. This enables you to contribute to something that positively impacts others; and can be emotionally rewarding and fulfilling. You can volunteer within your community or online. United Nations Volunteer (UNV) now provides opportunity for people to volunteer from any part of the globe.  Certain volunteer opportunities can actually help boost your skills and resume.  Caution, some volunteer opportunities such as UNV require you to submit an application, so be prepared.

Join A Community: The period of unemployment is not the time for total isolation. Find a community where you can learn and network.  A good community will be emotionally and professionally rewarding.

Concluding, let me add that your emotion is critical to maintaining confidence, self-esteem and being able to pitch or compete at interviews. It therefore requires every guard and protection you can offer. A period of unemployment is just a phase that will pass.  It is important that you use it wisely by properly managing your emotions during the season.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, visit the ‘Resources- Career’ 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.

Kind Regards.

Interview Takeout 001

Hello Friends,

Trust your day is turning out as planned.  Remember that hope is one of our precious gifts.  So please keep hope alive.

I am excited to post the first edition of my Interview Takeout. This will now be part of my monthly posts.  You are wondering, what is an ‘Interview Takeout’?  My view is that every experience and encounter in life, comes with a takeout or some take-outs: something we leave the conversation, interaction or meeting with – positive or negative.

So here, I will be sharing my takeout from my interactions with candidates’ at interviews, and express my opinions. These take-outs will provide useful insights that you can apply in your search for employment. Here to ….:

Interview Takeout 001:

Understanding the Job Role:

  • At a recent interview we conducted for a Client, we asked all the candidates if they read the job announcement; and got 99.9% ‘yes’.
  • Next, we requested each candidate to explain what the job is about. It was disappointing that nearly everyone could not give a convincing response. Only a handful got a few things with guess work and inference. 
  • If you do not understand what the job you are interviewing for is about, my view is that you are not likely to do a good work at selling yourself to the Recruiter; but rather, you will short-change yourself with the recruiter and leave your chances or opportunity in the hands of your competitors – the other candidates.
  • Takeout: Understand the job you are being interviewed for; the expected tasks or roles, other specifications such as skills or type of person the organisation is looking for. Rehearse the job announcement or job description as often as you can, before the interview. Not necessary to cram all the information, but to become familiar with the key requirements of the job.  See also my postHow to Handle Job Application Process in a Professional Way’ for more tips.

Has this takeout helped? Watch out for more. Remember to click the ‘follow button’, and help others – share this so we can reach and help more people in their career or job search journey.

Best Regards,

%d bloggers like this: