So last week, I just had this thought to help people get jobs. I’d heard too much of “I don’t have a job” and “I’m looking for a job” and “The economy is hard” around me so I wanted to bring those bad vibes on a low. Although many may disagree with me (and they sure are entitled to their opinion), getting a job isn’t difficult — especially here in Ghana. It’s easy to see why someone would disagree with me. 2 years ago, I thought so too. I was looking for a short term software development offer. I wanted to use it to acquire more skills and make some money whilst I was at it. With just a month until the time I wanted to start, I began my search. Guess how many successful conversions I got: 0. Yes, zero. None of them really listened to me. Some said ‘okay’ and they’d get back to me. For some, I’m pretty sure my letter didn’t get past the receptionist, HR or security guard who assured that they were the right people and prevented me from speaking to some execs at these firms. This is called rejection — and while most people try to run away from it, I embraced it. I learned to compose myself as people shamelessly lied to my face, telling me that they’d get back to me, when I could discern that was not the case. Most of all, I told myself that “if these guys won’t take me on, then it’s just because they don’t deserve me”. How true! Some of the firms I applied to aren’t doing so well today — a stark opposite of their performance in 2016. They’re not getting the big deals that they used to have. Some of them have even been taken down. I do have to say too that some of them are doing really well. And that’s a good thing. I truly wish them well.
I picked myself up with some pretty important lessons. Within a year, instead of being rejected — I was now the one rejecting offers. Can you believe that? You should because it’s true. But I’m not here to brag. This is not about me — it’s about you. Today, I’m gonna share with you just a handful of the lessons I learned in the hope that you too will use them to improve your livelihood and, hopefully, land your dream job. I do have to mention that this is a little biased. I’m an analyst by nature and so I’d use examples of things that are classified as white-collar jobs. That’s only because it’s my strength. That may not be your strength. Remember, it’s the lessons that are important. So you need to apply the lessons in your field, whether it’s building and construction, mining, agriculture, finance, etc. And by the way, white collar jobs aren’t as high paying as most people. I’ve got some people in Kant who make my supervisor’s monthly salary at the end of every week. Back to the lessons, I’ll use a very famous quote to explain everything I have for you. So buckle up and let’s roll. Here’s the quote:
“Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.”
1. Build skill
A job is essentially an exchange of time for money between you and an employer. So the question is, how much is your time worth? How much can you do for someone in 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours? How valuable are you? You say you’re a computer programmer but all you can code is HTML and CSS — which, by the way, aren’t even programming languages. Well, my dear reader, you shouldn’t possibly expect to land a job as a web developer in this modern day. If you do, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re offered a salary less valuable than peanuts. Charley, employers aren’t stupid. Research the skills you need for your dream job and then work at having them. Being at home for a year in order to build that skill could be totally worth it. You can make up for the time and money you’ve lost as time goes on. And the truth is, it’s not that there aren’t many jobs. Rather, there aren’t many talented people to go around. If you can show prospective employers that you’re talented enough for the role you’re applying for, they’ll be looking for you and not the other way round. You won’t be taught all the skills you need in school so stop blaming your school. Sit up and acquire them yourself. There’s a lot in you. You just have to bring it out.
So what can you do, how best and how fast can you do it?
2. Are You Seen?
So maybe point number one is not a problem for you — because you’re skilled!!! Sure, you’re skilled. You’re probably a sharp financial analyst, you’re an excellent marketer, you got straight A’s outta school…things like that. Ok, who knows about you? Who’s seen you in action? What have you done? What do people who know you say about you? If all your prospective employers can know about you are your gengin’ and bengin’ vlogs, charley you’re not gonna land that job…hehehe.
b. You’ve got to brand yourself well.
Take a good professional photo of yourself and use it on sites like LinkedIn. Everybody knows that our facebook and twitter is for personal stuff so I guess it’s ok if your FB or twitter profile pic is gengin’ and bengin’…lol.
For the record though, if I were employing you and your snapchat is full of pictures and videos of you in a suit and tie, I’m probably gonna ignore you because you’re too serious. (That’s me though.)
If you get a shot of yourself in action, that’s even better! It exudes professionalism, suggests a good work ethic and tells prospective employers that you’re ready for work. Build a good resume. A one-page resume is the best. It easy to read and also demonstrates that you’re able to communicate a lot with a small amount of space. I do have to say that crafting a resume demands skill. It’s not just about writing or making it look beautiful. But it’s not difficult. You can learn how to do that or have a friend who is skilled at it help you out. There’s a lot I can say about writing resumes but just to keep this post short, you should do your own research. You can start with this guide by Havard University. There’s more to say about branding yourself but I’ll leave that for another time.
3. The Greatest Shall Serve
The phrase, “stand before kings”, is figurative. It refers to service. Normally we stand before kings to wait on them; to serve them. Diligent people will serve honorable masters to receive honorable results. But the point is, are you ready to do so? Are you ready to serve? You want a job but you talk bad of your prospective employer. For you, it’s just about the money and you’re gone. It might be okay with some people but the truth is most employers are looking for responsible people to whom they can entrust a certain aspect of their business to. Are you faithful? What is the integrity of your integrity? Are you competent enough? Can you execute the tasks for your employer/supervisor/manager in his absence? Whilst your talent or skill can send you to the top, it’s your attitude that will keep you there. Attitude works like body odor. Keep that in mind.
As an SEO alumnus, I’d share one of the organization’s principles which constitutes our commendable work ethic:
Do it faster, do it better, ask for more.
Think about that.
4. Do Your Homework Well
Who founded the firm you’re applying to? What’s the purpose of the organization you want to work in? What challenges do they face? (Oh yes, they have problems. Otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to hire you to help them fix it.) So what’s your job role gonna entail?
These are basic questions you should have answers to. What’s currently happening in the industry you’re applying to for example. Let’s say you wanna apply for a finance or management role at Barclays for example. You should know the share price for Barclays since it’s listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange. You should know the current GDP of Ghana, the country’s fiscal deficit, and other basic financial ratio stats. Your inability to give the right answers to such questions in an interview could make an employer think he’s being tricked into hiring a clown. And you don’t want that to happen.
So there you have it; a couple of lessons I wanna share with you. If you take them seriously and run with them, you’re gonna have great news to share with me very soon. There are more lessons but this is what I’d want to let out at this time. If this has been of benefit to you, share it with someone so it helps them too.