As a career counselor I have been approached several
times by young eager graduates who are looking forward
to joining the job market with a dilemma of ‘how do I land an entry level job with a two-year work experience? given that I have just graduated from college? This is a catch-22 all over, especially in Africa. We (workers and employees) need to place ourselves strategically to be marketable in the global space. How do we do this? As an entry level who is searching for a job, how do they go about it?
Have a well done CV
You are an entry level job seeker and your CV is a far cry for help, there are plenty of spelling mistakes, mixing of different fonts! this is a recipe for disaster! Job seekers should invest their time to review their resumes and bench mark it to global market by using the international CV builder. An example of a cv builder is
zety and it is already optimized by smart apply technology. This will place you on a higher level, it shows you took time to work on your cv, that you care of the outcome, that you are aware, there are hundreds of you applying for the same position but you need to stand out. I have also noticed that there are Artificial Intelligence recruitment tools used globally that we here in Africa need to catch up with. We need to benchmark our cv with global standards, because recruiters worldwide use smart recruitment software to shortlist. While working on the CV, a job seeker should ensure that it is ATS (Application Tracking System) compliant
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a closer meaning to the world being a global village. We are now able to work remotely for companies in different geographical areas. Having an excellent cv makes the job seeker stand out when applying for jobs.
The cover letter should cover what is stated in the job advert and should be concise. You are here applying for an entry level job but you do not have the required years of experience, let your cover letter stand out. Ensure the key skill area on the job advert are captured in the cover letter. The intelligence system used by the organization will be able to shortlist you. The cover letter will capitalize on other areas advertised.
For Africa to benchmark to the rest of the world we need to know that internship in the western countries starts at high school level! What most people fail to realize is, internships actually classify as years of experience! We also have apprentice program that starts in middle school! My son Alpha is on his first apprenticeship at 12 years old! In Africa, we need to start this initiative of
starting internship into the early years of high school education, so that by the time they are in university and almost graduation time the job seeker has almost two years of working experience cumulative.
Skill base volunteer opportunities
Candidates should remember to mention their skill base volunteer opportunities that they have participated in. The challenge we have in Africa is that we do a lot of these volunteers but we fail to mention them during interviews. We undersell ourselves because most of this volunteer’s activities are happening at one
of our relatives’ enterprise. For example, being an electrician in your uncle’s hotel, fixing electrical issues and this could happen maybe during long holidays from university so you don’t see this as a something to sell during interviews. Or working as a secretary in your aunt’s school, sure enough you are doing administrative duties and in the process acquiring a skill in administration yet you fail to mention it in the interview, this interview could be for an entry level in finance, which has some aspects of administration duties.
Thank You Note
Potential employees always send a thank you note after the interview; I have come to realize that in order to stand out, you need to send a thank you note after the interview. Not only does a thank you note keep you top of mind amongst all other candidates, but you never know when your recruiters will need to
break a tie in the recruitment process. No matter what the metrics are, behind every recruitment process, there is a person.
Nevertheless, African recruiters need to be more understanding of the job seeker. The reality of recruitment in today’s world is this: talent can come from any part of the world and little experience with potential to grow in the role may serve you better than
no experience with lofty degrees. Research has shown that it is never a question of knowledge or experience, but the right balance of education and experience to gain knowledge.
Knowing this, taking into account what participants have to offer beyond the details on their CV will help recruiters settle on the right talent for the right job role. Africa is indeed competing in a global space and there is more to be achieved in the global terrain when it comes to meeting worldwide competition. We will get there soon.