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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.
You crafted an appealing CV and a cover letter, landed an interview, and now you’ve gotten the job! Get into a positive mind-set and remember that truly fitting in with a new organization takes time. Soon you'll know the new people, the new work, and the new place. Here are a few tips on how to adapt to a new job. 1. Get to know your work environment If you really want to settle into a new job environment, you want to embrace the unknown as if it's an adventure that you've got zero idea where it will lead you, but it's well worth every minute spent on the ride there. You have to adopt to a company’s environment in order to succeed in the organization. Attend any training or orientation sessions provided. 2. Learn To help yourself adapt, start by learning as much as possible concerning the company which you're going to be working for. When you have no one to teach you, you've got to study what's happening. Be very observant at all times. Among the best strategies to adapt to a different environment is to get a goal that keeps you focused. And always ask question about anything that’s not clear 3. Develop a new routine One of the greatest strategies to adapt to another environment is to begin a routine and keep at it for a couple weeks until it becomes your new norm. It's simple to get that attitude, as you don't know whether your work is likely to mean anything tomorrow or the next week. You must have a positive attitude and be in a position to work with new technology and diverse co-workers in order to fully utilize your potential and creativity. 4. Build relationships . The relationships you have with the people you work with can easily make or break your experience. Immediately forging relationships with your co-workers will also help you transition more smoothly. Step out of your comfort zone and attempt to interact with everyone you work with. Introduce yourself and make sure you know your colleagues’ names and positions. These are the individuals who are likely to be your networking connections for years to come.   The experience of adapting to a new job doesn't have to be miserable. Do what feels comfortable and right to you even when you're trying to get used to a new situation.
Research suggests that first-time impressions shape perceptions of professional competence. While you’ve prepared your impressive CV and Cover Letter, researched about the job you are interviewing for, now you’ll have to work on your appearance. Your options will vary depending on the type of job and company you're interviewing with. Selecting your interview attire is the final detail that pulls all your efforts together. You need to look the part you are interviewing for and make a statement about yourself that will get the hiring manager listening to what you have to offer.         1. Plan your attire ahead of time   Planning your outfit allows you to deal with any wardrobe issues in time. Try on your outfit before the day of the interview to ensure it’s in perfect shape and avoid any last-minute alterations. Avoid anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager. Make sure it fits and also ensure you feel confident in it.              2. Dress for the job   Do your research, and find out what others in the company wear. Often, the industry itself can give you enough context to make an informed decision. Many offices and corporate environments operate in traditional business attire, in which case you should go for a conservative look like tailored suits. If it’s more of a creative or a start-up company with a casual edge, you can go for something a little more smart-casual. You should ensure that the attire you wear speaks volumes about your personality.            3. Be comfortable in your outfit   If you are uncomfortable in your outfit the interviewer can tell. Make sure your clothes are not too tight, too revealing, or too baggy.  Avoid wearing anything too short or too low cut as it might make you feel uneasy during the interview.  If you wear uncomfortable shoes, your walking style changes and as you walk into the interview room you will shift attention to how you walk rather than how you talk.           4. Keep makeup and hair to a minimum  Hairstyle should not distract the employer. Your hair should be professional and polished, like your entire outfit. As for makeup, think soft and natural. Tone down on bright colored eye shadow, lipstick hair, and nails.                5. Check yourself before walking into the interview room   Remove loose change from your pockets and turn off your cell phone. Check for any hanging cloth strings, unbuttoned or untucked shirt or uncombed hair.          6. Smile  Don’t forget to wear your smile. Putting on a smile and adjusting your body language can improve your mood and help you feel more confident. But not grinning wildly throughout the interview. If you aren’t sure of what to wear, call the office and ask the person who scheduled the interview for advice. Your dress code should then be topped up with a mild perfume, cologne or aftershave. “The clothes you wear and the way you groom yourself will change the way other people HEAR what you say” Tyler Tervooren  
While you’re in the interview hot seat watching for clues from your interviewer, he or she is busy watching you – looking for their own clues. Interviewers look for things they want to hear in your answers, ways you handle yourself during the interview, or simply some sign that shows them what you might be like if you worked for them. When it comes to the interview itself, listen carefully at the moment and respond naturally to the actual questions asked. Don’t jump ahead to practice your answer in your head while the interviewer is still talking. Trust yourself and find your own words. Be conversational, It will help you connect with the interviewer. So what exactly is the interviewer looking for? Body Language   Don’t slouch. Sit up straight, looking professional and yet as natural as possible. Be aware of any extraneous body movements (tapping your finger or foot, clicking a pen) that can distract the interviewer from your words. Don’t forget to add a warm smile as you speak, a natural way. And make easy eye contact during the conversational exchanges to help create a connection. Knowledge of the Company and the job you are interviewing for.   To the employer, this is a very important factor. Not only do you need to be familiar with the position that you are applying for, but you should also have some knowledge of the company. You need to research the company and what it's all about. What are the specialties of the department you’re interviewing with? You want to show the employer that you have a real interest in working for them and are not just looking to get a job. Review the job description and look up anything you aren’t completely familiar with. Can you deliver You must have the skills, experience, and education to be able to fulfill all the requirements listed in the job description. Demonstrate that you were able to succeed in a similar role or under similar circumstances. Spell out how your experience directly relates to the job for which you’re applying. Employers want to see you have those personal attributes that will add to your effectiveness as an employee, such as the ability to work in a team, problem-solving skills, and being dependable, organized, proactive, flexible, and resourceful. Professionalism Display professionalism in every aspect of your interview. You want to present your best self in the interview by being polite and not doing things like interrupting the interviewer or being sarcastic. Employers want to see that you are warm, friendly, easygoing and cooperative with others. You want to show that you are the right fit and have the right attitude for both the job and the company. Honesty Be yourself and avoid canned answers. Don’t approach an interview in a very formal and conceited manner or be fearful of saying something negative. Relax and enjoy the conversation. Conclusion Interviewers will observe your demeanor, personality, and attitude as well as process your answers to their questions. You want to make sure you convey, as well as possess these qualities when preparing for your next interview.