Mary : August 24, 2018 1:49 pm : Job Searches, Learners
Professors Without Borders is committed to empowering students through education. Through our summer school programs in Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, and India, we help students develop the skills that they will need to pursue jobs within their chosen career field.
In the final part of our career advice series, we asked Jacqueline Akello, the Pioneer University Secretary for the African Rural University in Kagadi, Uganda, to share her advice for searching and applying for jobs.
Please enjoy the following article from Jacqueline.
High school leavers join university or college with big dreams. Each one believes that having the college degree or diploma shall earn them a comfortable job in life. In the first few months before going to college, there are so many possibilities a freshman sees of life. In fact, they often think the adults just do not get it. Once they start the freshman year, there is a lot of catching up, a lot of socialization and the management of newly found freedom. There are no parents to decide by what time you should be home, done homework or sleep. Parents hope you can make responsible choices.
The world is an open ground for exploration. For some, the dreams die as fast as they came. Others nurture and water their dreams.
Indeed it is an open ground for exploration. What should be most important is that what are you exploring at? If it is that dream job you want, explore the possibilities that can earn you the experience to get to that job even while at university/college. Now how does one get to know the job opportunities while at college?
Know your primary choices in life. The primary choice is that which against all other choices are made. For example, if you want to be the most successful rolex (chapatti rolled with omelet and other fillings) trader in the region, what would you do? What must you choose to do to make it? What is involved in the making, pricing, what are the different flavours people like, what varieties must you have, what would make a customer comeback to purchase? All these guide one’s decision making.
Your associates matter. Whom you associate with is important to guide you in the choices that you end up making. Associating with staff of the college can enable you know the openings available. Perhaps a professor would want a research assistant. They are willing to mentor and train. These are short term opportunities. Assuming you want to be a statistician, you want to be as close to research associates as possible to give you opportunities to learn the tools of your trade while you get paid for it.
Ask the college Dean or Administrator. The Administrator and or Dean of any college always has a broader understanding of emerging needs. They shall always guide or recommend you. Notice boards often have leads, follow-up assume you are the first to read it. Volunteer if need be.
Business opportunities within the college. Your fellow students may be willing to purchase items or services from you. A number of college students have provided services such as graphics design, organize events, photocopy services etc. So many of these business opportunities are readily supported by the college students who become your clients and undertake free marketing for you. You must be willing to sacrifice a little pride. For some, such services are developed into full time jobs after college.
Participation in sports activities. Sports is often taken as a recreation engagement. All sports have rules and involve people. Soft skills extremely important for employment are developed through sports. People management, management of success and failure, time management, goal setting and strategizing etc. While it may not be an obvious linkage to employment, it provides experience useful in employment.
Whatever strategy you choose to take, remember, the skill and experience you learn from it shall be your stepping stone to the next level.
Many thanks to Jacqueline for her incredible insight. We hope that “The First Step” serves a useful resource as you begin your job search! Make sure to visit the Career Development Page to find advice and tips for how to start your next job search.
Click here to learn more about PROWIBO’s work.
Mary : August 6, 2018 3:49 pm : Job Searches, Learners
Welcome back to The First Step, PROWIBO’s job search series. Through these articles, PROWIBO aims to present advice on searching and applying for jobs in Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Uganda. We hope these articles can serve as resources for the students of all of PROWIBO’s summer school programs.
In Part Two, we cover searching and applying for jobs in Thailand. We asked Sipim Sornbanlang, PROWIBO Asia Representative and Programs Coordinator, to give her advice for searching and applying for jobs.
When starting a job search, it is important to stay organised and focused. At first glance, starting to look for a new job can seem overwhelming. However, it is very easy to conduct your job search online. “Searching online is the most convenient way for young people nowadays,” says Sipim. One website that may be particularly useful is JobThai. On the homepage, you can view JobThai’s most popular and most recent job adverts. Moreover, you can use JobThai’s search engine to browse for jobs by industry, category, and province. In addition to posting job adverts, JobThai offers users the chance to design and store their resumes on the website. However, if you are having difficulty finding a job online, Sipim suggests that you consult newspapers. “Sometimes jobs advertised in English newspapers like Bangkok Post, The Nation, etc. are more interesting and challenging,” says Sipim.
During the initial stages of your job hunt, it is important consider how you will present your resume and cover letter to a potential employer. Sipim suggests that resumes and cover letters should be as concise as possible. Remember that these documents present an overview of your skills and qualifications, so do not overload the documents with too much information. Moreover, Sipim suggests that you maintain a professional tone throughout the documents. Remember to include a professional email address with your first and last name and, depending on your comfort level, include a professional and recognisable photo of yourself.
When applying for jobs, it is important to reflect on your own skills and abilities, so you make sure that you apply for jobs that reflect your skill set. Think about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to soft skills, such as communication skills and time management and industry-specific skills, such as data processing. Skill development is a lifelong process. You can and should always make time to learn new skills and/or improve your current skills. If you are unsure where to start, two key skills areas are language skills and IT skills. “English communication is a plus when you are searching/applying for jobs,” says Sipim. It may also benefit you to learn another language aside from English, such as Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, and/or French. Moreover, Sipim stresses the importance of IT Skills and applications, especially Microsoft Office. Furthermore, Sipim believes that individuals may also want to familiarize themselves with design skills. “I think having skill in multimedia or graphics can be very useful such as Photoshop, Video editing, etc. But this depends on which kind of organization you are working with as well,” says Sipim.
In a competitive labour market, it is important for candidates to stand out among other potential applicants. A great way to stand out is to have work experience in your chosen field. There are many ways to gain work experience. You can start by looking for volunteer opportunities and activities in university. Sipim also recommends applying to be an intern. Working as an intern will allow you to familiarize yourself with the industry and it provides great opportunities for networking. “According to my experience, many students could get job offers from organizations they intern after they graduate,” says Sipim. It is important to pursue as many work opportunities as you can. These opportunities not only help to advance your professional development but also help you understand how well you cope with problems and teamwork.
Throughout your job search, it is important to dedicate time to prepare for job interviews. To begin your interview preparation, think about how you would like to present yourself to your future employer. Sipim stresses the importance of being respectful and humble when first applying for jobs. It is also important to consider how to dress professionally in order to create a good first impression. Finally, you should take adequate time to research the history and background of the organisation. “Do your homework about the organization you’re applying, study it well and give them good reasons why you are matched their requirements,” suggests Sipim. Potential employers will appreciate you taking the time to get to know the organisation.
Many thanks to Sipim for her helpful insight. Stay tuned for Part Three, where we will discuss searching and applying for jobs in Uganda. Make sure to visit the Career Development page to find advice and tips for how to start your next job search. To learn more about PROWIBO, please visit our website.
“JobThai.com.” JobThai. Accessed July 20, 2018. http://www.jobthai.com/home/searchjob.php?l=en.
Weicht, Rebecca. “Education Systems Can Stifle Creative Thought. Here’s How to Do Things Differently.” World Economic Forum. Accessed August 20, 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/04/education-systems-can-stifle-creative-thought-here-s-how-to-do-things-differently.
Professors Without Borders is committed to empowering students through education. Through our summer school programs in Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, and India, we help students develop the skills that they will need to pursue jobs within their chosen career field. In “The First Step”, Professors Without Borders will present advice on searching and applying for jobs in Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uganda. We hope that these articles will serve as resources for our past, present and future students.
We asked PROWIBO program alumni and research associate, Mucktarr Raschid and PROWIBO Project Coordinator for Sierra Leone and research associate Yanoh Jalloh to share their advice for searching and applying for jobs in Sierra Leone.
Sometimes the most difficult part of a job search is the initial research phase. While looking for job posting can be overwhelming, there are resources that you can use to make sure that you are proactive and productive. Finding out where to look for a job posting is key. Mucktarr suggests that you begin your job search by looking either in local newspapers or browsing social media platforms. “Newspapers are a key tool for searching for job applications in Sierra Leone,” says Mucktarr. However, both Mucktarr and Yanoh emphasise the importance of using social media to conduct job searches and research job opportunities. They recommend students utilise social media platforms, such as Facebook to browse for job adverts and applications.
Moreover, you can utilise platforms, such as Whatsapp to come across job opportunities. “Some organizations send out job postings through their networks on WhatsApp [and] sometimes people send a job description to a group or their contacts and it gets forwarded. You can’t really do anything special to receive these job postings but once can always be on the lookout,” says Yanoh. Furthermore, Yanoh suggests that individuals browse the Freetown announcement job forums on Yahoo to look for job adverts.
In addition to social media, Yanoh recommends visiting the job search website Careers.sl. Launched in 2014, Careers.sl aims to “lower the search cost and barrier to information for both job-seekers and employers, providing basic labor market information to them and a centralised meeting point wherein the two groups can interact.” Additionally, the site publishes articles offering advice on writing an effective resume recruiting and hiring candidates, and ways to increase your productivity at work.
Skill Development and Work Experience
According to Raschid, “skills and experience are fundamental in nipping a job, so it is advisable for one to constantly make relentless efforts to improve your abilities and competencies.” Raschid recommends that individuals work first on developing good working ethic and develop good habits, such as punctuality as early as the interview process. In addition to soft skills, Yanoh recommends to work on developing greater computer literacy. This includes have a good understanding of Microsoft Suite. At the least, it is useful to have a good understanding of Microsoft Excel as many businesses in Sierra Leone use in many of their daily operations.
Moreover, it is attractive to employers if you have experience in data evaluation and know how to extrapolate data as well as evaluate and present data sets.
In addition to investing in skill development, Mucktarr suggests individuals try to gain as much work experience as possible. Start by looking at volunteer opportunities with organisations (NGOs, nonprofits, for-profits, etc.) or government institutions. Getting your foot in the door is crucial as “you might be a priority for consideration if there is a vacancy in the organisation,” says Mucktarr.
Mucktarr recommends that individuals explore all forms of employment, including self-employment. There are many possibilities for small business ventures in Sierra Leone. Individuals with a passion for starting their own business should begin by researching their area of interest and drafting a sound business plan. Moreover, Mucktarr recommends that individuals base their venture on their access to start-up funding.
It is important to be persistent and vocalise that you are actively looking for job opportunities. “In Sierra Leone it is very much about who you know, how you know them, and knowing them at the right time. If people know you are in the job market, they will consider you when opportunities come up,” says Yanoh.
Many thanks to Mucktarr and Yanoh! Stay tuned for Part Two, where we discuss tips for searching and applying for jobs in Thailand.
“About Careers.sl.” Careers.sl. Accessed July 25, 2018. http://www.careers.sl/page/about-careerssl.
“About Sierra Leone.” UNDP Sierra Leone. Accessed July 15, 2018. http://www.sl.undp.org/content/sierraleone/en/home/countryinfo/.
“Career Advisory and Placement Services.” National Youth Commission Sierra Leone. Accessed July 15, 2018. http://www.nationalyouthcommission.sl/index.html.
“National Youth Commission Sierra Leone.” National Youth Commission Sierra Leone. Accessed July 15, 2018. http://www.nationalyouthcommission.sl/index.html.
Weicht, Rebecca. “Education Systems Can Stifle Creative Thought. Here’s How to Do Things Differently.” World Economic Forum. Accessed July 15, 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/04/education-systems-can-stifle-creative-thought-here-s-how-to-do-things-differently.
admin : October 24, 2017 1:13 pm : Job Searches, Learners
Regardless of the field you’re in, applying for a new job can be stressful. Filling out numerous applications and then playing the waiting game is an experience nobody enjoys. Receiving emails stating you have not been shortlisted for the position can be disheartening and leave you feeling frustrated in your search.
However, what if we told you that there are a few secrets to help you find the best jobs and land an interview? This post will provide you with the important tips to aid in your job search.