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By norm, the education system in our universities mainly instills us with knowledge but does not really prepare us for the work environment life. Unfortunately, it is for us to figure out how to go about when you graduate. But here are 5 things to know about the work environment; There are no naps When in university and college you would mostly celebrate and be happy especially if it is not a morning class. On the other hand, the work environment demands you to wake up and be at work on time. Some employees really take time seriously and one would lose their jobs simply because of not been there on time. Other than that, you may miss important meetings and schedules that are very vital to a company hence end up not being effective at the workplace. Clean up social media accounts Often, people say ‘YOLO’ – ‘You Only Live Once’ not knowing that Once can ruin a job you worked and toiled for or a position you really worked to get simply because you ‘YOLOed’ and posted something that is not morally accepted by the society or something that questions your moral value while in college and you forget about it not remembering the internet never forgets. B e realistic In as much as we are encouraged to be ambitious, it is good and important to be realistic. After graduating, most graduates expect to get a job and air out their views and be at their best not realizing they have not been in the work environment for long and you are yet to clearly figure out how things go about. It is therefore important to set short-term goals, which will lead you to your long-term goals hence setting realistic goals. Start a side hustle If plan A fails, have a plan B. Just in case you are laid off or being employed does not work, you can still manage to earn a living and even turn your side hustle into a source of income. In addition, it is important to know that a side hustle can actually come from your passion, hobby, or something you enjoy doing. A side hustle can allow you to establish yourself beyond your career and it will allow you to connect with more people, and different people, than you likely would through career alone. This can bring you a lot of opportunities and open doors that otherwise would have stayed closed. Learn to say No! In any work environment, you may face many temptations that require your No to be a ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ to be a ‘Yes’ even if it means that your job comes to an end. Some employers take advantage of fresh graduates because they tend to find you a vulnerable and easy target because you have desperately searched for that job and you would do anything to keep it but always been firm on your decision is important and you will earn respect from that. These are not the exact five things that you will need to know, there are more. Keep researching and find out how to go around your work environment. Always read and expand your mind. Try to learn about the people around you and how to comfortably relate with them without stepping on any toes.
You first have to choose your career wisely, then you can now strategize on how to make it successful. Block out all distractions so you have time to focus on your career. This way you’ll feel more secure in your career choice and direction.   Identify your end goal and commit to it   Goals are important when it comes to making moves on life in all aspects. Goals help you get focus and determination. That "I will get there one-day" attitude is key to make you wake up in the morning looking forward to what you do. Always have something to work for. Even if what you are doing is not the best, keep in mind working hard will get you the best. Have a clear plan   Plan your path, know where the bumps are. It's important to identify which route you should avoid and which one to take. Some paths may look really attractive but will not be in your line of success. Draw a timeline for yourself, a plan of where and what you want to do at a particular point in your career. Though they may not be accurate they are possible. Some goals might delay by a few months or a year, but at least you will know what road you are on. Challenge limiting beliefs   There is always this saying that "the sky is the limit". Why don't you challenge that belief? Aim to go higher than anyone has ever done. Achieving great success should not be based on what is going around. "No human is limited," said Eliud Kipchoge. A man who achieved what humans thought it was impossible. Always work to prove people wrong in a positive way by showing them that what they believe can't, can. Self-pensiveness   Take a moment each day and think about your career. Think about what you can do to improve what you have. Empower yourself every morning. Look in the mirror and say "I can do this" if you have to. Mental strength and confidence is a key part of achieving success. Work hard and smart   Always work hard and work smart. Always be ahead of the game. Take those short courses and try to implement them in your line of work. Every employer is always looking for that smart thinker in the room. Think out of the box, and when given the opportunity, work hard to prove you can bring something from concept to reality. This will help you grow in your career and also in confidence knowing that nothing that is brought your way is hard. Career coaching Career coaching helps you be self-aware of your working environment and also know when and how to adapt to situations on the go. This can develop your problem-solving skills to an impressive level. Also, keep in mind that the industry you are in is always changing. You have to be prepared for that and know which steps to take with every new thing that is introduced in your line.
Businesses pay for value. The more value one brings to the company, the more they deserve to be a part of it. In this era of ever-increasing competition in the labour market, the most effective way to stand out among other job applicants is the value you bring to the table. Here are a few tips on how to do it. Develop a specialty Acquiring new skills while keeping your qualifications updated is crucial for career success. Take short courses to boost the skills you’d want to develop further. Your education, knowledge, skills, and experience all are investments in your ability to contribute value in a company for which you can be paid. The world is moving fast and rapidly changing. Employers need to make sure that their employees are skilled and are well equipped to deal with these rapid changes. In order to be the best, you need to have something that nobody else has and developing a specialty gives you a competitive advantage. Increase Expertise Become an expert in a niche in your industry. This will make you easily recognizable among your peers and will automatically increase your worth in the job market. Study your industry and learn from your competitors. Becoming an expert in your area is a signal to any potential employer that you’re conscious of your growth and professional development. Have a mentor Mentoring is important, not only because of the knowledge and skills one can learn from mentors but also because mentoring provides professional and personal support to facilitate success in the job market. Quality mentoring greatly enhances one’s chances of success. Mentors find ways to stimulate our personal and professional growth, they can see where we need to improve where we often cannot and can be very helpful connectors to important networks. Be aware of yourself  Start viewing yourself as a product and cultivate your strong selling points. Do a self-assessment and figure out where exactly your talents, skills and capabilities lie. Being self-aware will help you identify your strengths and your weaknesses, know the areas you need to improve on, and the areas you can focus on when marketing yourself. This is the first essential step towards effectively selling yourself as the perfect candidate. Network  I know we are always telling you to network and yes, its because we know how effective it is. Network both online and offline. Talk about your interests, not about you looking for a job and you’ll realize other professionals will want to talk and connect with you. Keep your resume updated You need to keep up with changing trends and update any new skills you’ve acquired or experience. This will help present you as an expert. Making sure your CV is up to date will help you to hit the ground running if you need to look for alternative employment. The more frequently you update your CV, the less work you'll need to do when you need to use it.   It is never too late to be what you might have been. Start working on how you can add your value in the job market.  
In our previous blog we talked of some of the challenges to expect as a fresh graduate , but turning down a job offer might be the biggest challenge in this day and era. You might have been searching for a job for a long period and then amongst hundreds of qualified graduates and going for numerous interviews, you finally land this job offer. Probably the pay is good, the job description sounds good and everything during the interview seemed perfect, but is that enough to say yes to that job offer? Here are a few things you might want to weigh out before taking that job. The mission and aim of the job offer Sometimes you might be offered a job that sounds and looks good on paper, but does the job align with your goals? It is very okay to say no to a job that you feel will not help you grow your career. If there are serious gaps in what you want to achieve and what the job is offering then this can lead to frustrations and lack of advancement for you.   Growth opportunities   Getting a job offer after a long period of searching or when you are a fresh graduate, might make you overlook this fact. Both personal and professional growth are equally important in the workplace. No matter how good the job offer may sound or how good the salary might be, if it’ll not help you grow your skills or expand your expertise, then it’s a dead-end for you. The salary Sometimes the offered salary might sound good, but then compared to the workload there’s no balance. It’s important to do salary research on the job description before-hand to know a reasonable scale for you. Of course, money is not everything when it comes to job offers, but if it’ll financially strain you, then you might want to think twice. Another situation is where the salary mentioned in the job advert is different from what the manager tells you when offering the job. This proves dishonest business and that’s a red flag right there. The distance to work     If commuting to work will wear you to a frazzle, then you might be getting to work in bad moods and in the evening you get home with unraveled nerves. This might exhaust you so much that it’ll reduce your productivity. During Interviews pay attention to the distance and weigh if it’s something you can handle twice a day and every day if the job is full-time. The other thing to check with the distance is the cost and if the job will comfortably cover for that.   The company’s reputation is wanting     Is the company financially stable, Is it expanding or downsizing? If it’s downsizing and you get a job offer from them, it means you’ll be doing more work for less pay or your position might not be available in a few months down the line. If it’s not financially stable it means you might experience salary delays or no salary increment. The other thing to check is if the company is involved in scandals like pollution or corruption claims or violating employees working policies. It’s good to protect your brand. Inappropriate work behavior    We all know that elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, but WE WILL. Recently BBC Africa produced a documentary on “SEX for GRADES” and what’s worse than coming from such an ordeal, ready to grow your dream career only to experience the same thing at the workplace. Sexual advances or harassment from hiring managers to get the job should always be a clear sign that you should decline that offer. When you get a better offer    This is one of the best reasons, to say no to a job offer, saying Yes to a better one. You have to weigh your options, one might give you a good house allowance and transport allowance, but no medical, others might be more flexible or even have better pay. Some people might go for the one that’s concerned about their well-being, but if you feel having a house allowance over a medical cover is for you, that’s your reason to turn down the lesser.   These are just but a few of the reasons. Remember at the end of the day you have to trust your gut. Do you feel right about this job? Are you comfortable with the work environment, working hours, allowances, job description? You should not take it lightly to turn down a job. Take time to think about, then give an official communication that will come out as professional and grateful for their time and consideration.
Every new graduate faces challenges in their day to day job search activities, a few things missing here and there, a day too long than the previous. All in all one should understand that these are normal, and below are some reasons things might be a bit tough, 1. Very high expectations  It’s good to maintain positivity when looking for a job but having very high expectations might just crush that. Having a degree is fine, but remember there are other graduates too, who probably have even more qualifications than you. The best thing you can do is to be fully prepared, keep an open mind and give all relevant opportunities in your field a chance. 2. Lack of 'Real World' Experience       Most graduates are met with shock as things are different when it comes to the world of work. Most companies usually look for “work experience” when hiring, hence eliminating graduates who didn’t go for internships or any other work experience at all. Internships help you get the "real world" work experience. You get to acquire important skills such as communication, teamwork and the ability to work under pressure. Sharpening these skills can boost job prospects. 5 reasons why an internship is important for your professional career. 3. Extended unpaid internships  This is one of the main challenges graduates face. Internships are very helpful, but when they are extended and go unrewarded, they become a great challenge. It can be tough for a new graduate to commute daily to work and cater to his/her expenses. This can lead to poor results at the office and also cause a lack of motivation/purpose. You can do that internship for a few months that you can manage, when it gets to the wire, you can throw in the towel and start looking for a salaried job.  4. Salary satisfaction This might not look like a challenge at first but it is. Most graduates who have limited experience will probably over quote expecting to have a first job with a six-figure starting package. One should research on entry-level salaries for their respective fields before stepping into an interview. 5. Impressive resumés Resume also known as curriculum vitae (CV) are the most important piece when it comes to getting a job. Yes, everyone can write one but not everyone will impress with one. A graduate should take their time when they are writing their resume. Explaining clearly what they are good at and what they can improve on. 6. Research This point is the most emphasized in all areas. Research is as important as a good CV. You might have the best CV in the world but if you do not know anything about the company you are going to work for, it won’t help you. Spend a few hours a day researching on the target company, find out what they do, when did they start, what is their journey, such things. Employers are always impressed by such actions.     In conclusion, while all the above are happening to graduates and interns, it’s always good to be prepared and be ready to compromise a few things for the greater good. That being, getting your dream job. 
Job searching can be very exhausting and sometimes disappointing especially when you've sent out your resume to several organizations but no feedback at all. Keep your energy level high and stay positive during your job search. Know your strengths and what you want, then search for jobs with that in mindset. Let people know you are searching   This might be a bit uncomfortable at the start but you have to work whatever contacts you have and let them know you are searching for a job. You never know who could refer you to a job opening or refer you to potential employers. Start with family and friends, then reach out to any professional contacts you have. Recruiter websites that usually help students to find jobs or internships are also a plus. Just send your CV. If you don't get your current dream job, they might just save the CV and call you when they have an opening. Find ways in which you can add value to an organization    Research any organization(s) you'd like to work for and find ways you can be of benefit to it. Is there a job you can create or a role there that suits you? Don't apply for a job just to pay bills but focus on building a career. Usually look for a gap within an organization, new communication technology, easier delivery ideas, or even management level innovations.   Grow your network The importance of building a strong professional network can not be stressed enough. Attend professional association meetings regularly-- this will help you expand your professional contacts. Also build a professional online presence on websites like LinkedIn, where employers tend to check when they are looking for new employees. Don ’t stop applying While you are waiting to hear from an employer, don’t stop applying. Most job seekers are rejected by over 15 employers before landing a job, so keep applying until you get the right offer. If you’re getting tired of looking for jobs, your positive demeanor could turn negative in the wrong environment like during interviews. Persistence is key, that “never give up” attitude will keep you going and be sure you will be happy at the end of it all.   Look for training opportunities and sharpen your skills Volunteering is working for an organization for free, but it's also an organization training you for free. This is a win-win situation. Take every challenge as an opportunity to know something new. At the end of the day, you'll find that you know an industry winning skill, which is also a plus when it comes to recruiters and direct employers.   Look for local organizations near you where you can volunteer in any department where you can apply your skills well. This will add in your CV and also allow you to network with professionals who might help you get your next job.     Have a job search strategy This simply means that you should have a plan when searching for a job. Don’t apply for anything and everything, this might later come back and be exhausting, you will have to customize your CV for everything you are applying for. The best thing is to apply for jobs within your field or a field that is related. This helps you to have one mindset in what you want.   Follow up on pending Job applications Draft a job to follow up email with a clear subject (eg, Follow up on the job application for X position) to make it easier to spot. Be polite in the email indicating what you want to know and be straight to the point and be brief too. Hopefully, the above points will help you in whatever you are doing. If you probably follow all these tips but still you’re not getting any feedback from your job applications, then you can review your resume and if you missed our tips on a good CV you can find it here . If maybe you landed an interview but they didn’t call you back, you can check out 5 things employers look for in a job interview and how to dress up for an interview .   All the best.
Internships, right? Many companies today are using internships as a means to screen talent, but as an intern, you will need to do more than just deliver excellent performance in order to transition from intern to an employee. With the following tips, high chances are that you will get an offer letter before you leave.   Meet Deadlines  You’ll always be expected to finish any tasks given, and on time. If you face any challenge finishing up a task, always inform your supervisor to get an extension of time. But don’t always rush to finish your work-- efficiency and perfection will be key. This will give the impression of being reliable and trustworthy. Show enthusiasm working for the company  Showing interest in working for the company will heighten your employer’s confidence in you. If you don’t have enough work to do you can always ask for more before your supervisor notices you’ve been idling around. Always arrive in time and get involved in all extracurricular activities. Be dynamic and stand out from the crowd   Always be positive in attitude, full of energy and new ideas. Show your employer you have a strong work ethic. Always ask questions to understand your role better, company culture and also its goals and objectives. Showing a genuine willingness to learn will help you to stand out from the crowd. Network as much as possible-- Working hard is important, but it is also crucial to socialize with your team. Develop a good relationship with your supervisor and colleagues   A good relationship is always key in life. Especially with people who you spend most of your days with, also with the ones who can directly influence your professional direction. If your supervisor likes you as a person it will be easier to take in minor mistakes and correct you with all positiveness in mind and will also want you to continue growing with them. Your colleagues also have an influence. If they like working with you and being around you, they are most likely going to put in a good word for you higher up on the food chain.    Set achievable goals and seek feedback from your supervisor   Set some professional goals you would want to achieve by the end of the internship. During the internship, regularly ask for feedback from your supervisor to check if there are areas you need to improve on. Communicate your aims and establish early on what the company’s expectations are of you. Stay up to date with the company    Know about the company and its different areas, its background and any upcoming projects the company is intending to do.  It will give you a distinct advantage in understanding how the business works and the nature of specific projects when they arise.   Conclusion To conclude all this, internships can be your job, but what will you do to make that a reality? Remember to set goals, update yourself, work hard and be passionate about the gig. This will definitely turn heads in the office. All said and done, wishing you a successful and exciting time in the office.   Thanks for reading.
Working in a team is crucial in almost every position in an organization. Teamwork motivates unity and improved productivity at the workplace. But a team can only reach its goal if the team players are ready to collaborate. Here are some qualities that make one a great team player in achieving an objective. A good listener     "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new," Dalai Lama .   Good listening connects you to your team members and helps you understand your responsibilities and how you can all integrate your skills to achieve the required task to the best of your abilities. It also makes it easy for effective communication and great problem-solving. Reliable, Responsible and Committed  A great team player will strive for excellence hence will give attention to every detail of the work to be accomplished. Engage with the best intentions in every task and deliver what you promised to, and in good time. You should always be ready to venture on with strong determination and persistence, committed to getting the job done. Good communication skills  Keep your team members informed of your ideas. But this does not mean being stubborn and strongly pushing for ideas that other team members don’t agree with. Be objective and respectful at the same time. Don’t be quiet either when other team members are exchanging ideas. Remember you are all there for the same goal and you can only achieve it by contributing. Meets deadlines   This involves getting the job done in good time and delivering consistent quality work. If there’s a task to be accomplished and you have the skill, do it. Do your fair share and finish in good time so that the team can be able to meet any deadlines. When you consistently meet deadlines, you are seen as reliable and responsible. Recognizes other team members ’ work and appreciates them   Focusing on other people’s work and effort rather than your own will naturally bring people towards you because they’ll feel inspired and empowered to realize their potential. Look for what's right, not what's wrong in what your team members are doing. Offer positive feedback to their contribution-- this will encourage them to be productive in the team. Respects others, and let them help you  Respect means valuing others. It is important to become more self-aware that you are not always correct or all-knowing. Be real with members of your team and give them a chance to also share their ideas and help you where you are stuck. This ends up creating great relationships in the workplace. Be flexible and consider others’ preferred working style.   Working together inspires new ideas that wouldn’t manifest in isolation and also builds trust among colleagues. “There’s no such thing as a self-made man. You’ll reach your goals only with the help of others”, George Shinn.
Personal branding is the practice of marketing and establishing what you stand for. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of yourself. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you you. “ If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will and it probably won’t be the brand you want , ”  -  Glory Borgeson . Here are some tips on how you can develop your personal brand. Examine your core purpose Asses yourself, think about your accomplishments, what you are passionate about and what your goals are. Identify your strengths and weaknesses; what you are good at, what motivates you, what makes you not to be productive enough etc. Then from the list of strengths, choose what you want to focus and excel in. You also need to determine who you’re trying to reach, what you want to achieve and why. This will help you to have a clear sense of your purpose. Build relationships Both in business and personal life, strong interpersonal relationships are really helpful.  If you don’t put in the effort to promote yourself, nobody can find you. “ Wherever you live and whoever you know, it’s not too late to build your network and find a mentor ,” - Kathryn LeBlanc . Formal and informal networking events have led to internship opportunities, jobs, and promotions. This will help build your personal brand as it is likely to be noticed, the more you provide value to your interactions. Grow your professional online image A strong visible online identity is often a positive thing for a job-seeker. For example, LinkedIn offers a chance to highlight your academic and professional accomplishments. Link anything impressive about you to your online profiles. Your potential employers might Google you so make sure your online identity is consistent with your brand and your story should match across all platforms. Be authentic to yourself Reflect on who you are and identify skills that make you unique. Be confident and don’t let inexperience make you feel insecure. Develop a set of traits for yourself which are positive and strong. Be very clear in your mind about the combination of things that you can offer and how they can make something compelling and unique- this will help solidify your personal brand. Don’t exaggerate anything in terms of skills or levels of responsibility. Prepare an introduction pitch Learn how to articulate your experience and goals. Practice a 30- second pitch. Practice it until you are comfortable saying it. Tell an authentic story that would help sell yourself. A story that communicates your values and skills clearly and distinctively, but still manage to keep it short. Prepare all the right materials The right materials for your brand are, a professionally done resume and cover letter, an email address (preferably one that includes your name) and business cards. With the business cards you can keep it simple, just your name, all your contact information and your degree. This might help as you don’t know who you might meet in that long line at the supermarket or even in that football match. Keep your brand up to date Your brand is a work in progress and you’ll need to regularly re-assess it. Build your professional development plan around the things that you value as a person and as a professional.    Finally , “Building a profitable personal brand online is not a sprint and something that happens overnight. Don't aim for perfection early on. Instead, allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and focus on providing massive value and over-deliver to your target audience. Then you will get more clear over your message and brand as well. Always remember that!” – Navid Moazzez  
An internship provides the work experience that helps students put their education into practice, develop their leadership skills and give them a competitive advantage as they pursue a permanent position. Internships are a stepping stone to additional opportunities within an organization, including full-time employment. They are the best way to show potential employers that you can function well in a work environment. Here are some advantages of having an internship below your belt. You get a chance to gain experience and exposure  The job market is changing daily and also getting very competitive. As a recent graduate, internships help you integrate classroom knowledge with practical application and skill developed in professional settings. Internships also help you prepare for what to expect in your field and increase confidence in your work. As much as you gain relevant knowledge in your career of choice, you also get to establish important connections in the field. Build your resume With Internships, you gain exposure and experience in your career field hence giving you a head-start as employers want employees to have some sort of professional experience even in entry-level jobs. Creating a great impression during your internship can provide a great reference letter which may even lead to a potential job offer. Most of the open positions in an organization require work experience, and the best real work experience you can have is in your internship. Create networking connections  As a student, you have to establish important professional connections before you even reach graduation. Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build connections with company professionals that can be very beneficial for your future career. Internships provide an opportunity to learn from the people around you, ask questions, and impress. The professionals you encounter during an internship can be your future colleagues or the connection to your first job. Helps you know what you are passionate about A profession might seem exciting at first, but with a lack of experience, you might not know if it’s perfect for you. By doing an internship, you learn the things you would prefer to do and the things that you aren’t interested in, your strengths and your weaknesses. You can do multiple internships in various industries before you figure out the best path for yourself. Learn time management and teamwork Adjusting to a new timetable and colleagues can be a bit hard and overwhelming. An internship opportunity will give you the chance to learn punctuality, responsibility, and teamwork. Doing an internship exposes you to new people in a more controlled and stable environment.  Working with a team can help you learn how to divide tasks and collaborate with others to achieve a specific goal and meet the deadlines.  It also shows your potential employers that you can work well with others. In conclusion, having some internship experience makes you stand out from the competition. As a student, internships give you the chance to get a glimpse of what the business world is really like. Don’t just concentrate on your grades and miss the opportunity to intern with relevant organizations in your field of interest.