Man looking at documents during an interview

10 Job Search & Interview Documents Explained

Everyone’s job search begins differently. However much the resume plays a big part in your job search, it cannot cover all the information companies hiring in Kenya are looking for. Knowing what documents to include and how to include them will help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

Job seekers can get entrenched in the complexities and seemingly unending search for their next best careers but one thing to keep in mind is that preparation meets opportunity. There is no particular document that doesn’t qualify as a supporting document for your job search but here are my top recommendations to kick start your hunt.

The Resume

This is by far the most important piece to any job search or interview process. It is the document that carefully aligns your skills, knowledge, and experiences and how they match specific job requirements of various companies hiring in Kenya.  

Additionally, you must integrate keywords into your resume. Most companies hiring in Kenya use ATS systems to scan and select candidates directly before enlisting the remaining to the final interview process. We don’t want you automatically disqualified for employment because you don’t have the right keywords included in your e-resume.

Cover Letters

The perfect cover letter intends to grab attention and inspire interest from your prospective employer. It can be used as a lead-in attachment to your resume, an introductory message for email applications, or an overview of your portfolio.

A well-crafted cover letter can stand in for your resume by introducing your most immediate, relevant, and specific qualifications and experiences for various job opportunities. Additionally, just like the resume, an e-cover letter should highlight keywords that are relevant to the job you are applying for. 

Work Portfolio

This document demonstrates the quality of your work to hiring managers. It is a collection of your best work samples or what you are most proud of in your career. For example, a writer would present some of their best articles or a web designer would showcase samples of their best websites. 

In today’s job market we can develop online portfolios with individual portfolio websites or third-party sites like LinkedIn. The idea is to continually update your work profile for better visibility from companies hiring in Kenya.

Certificates of extracurricular activities

These documents are a clear indicator of your strengths and overall personality which could be an asset to your potential employer. They determine how well you fit into the team dynamics and what external projects would be a good fit.

Reference List

A reference list is a great addition as a supporting document. It is imperative to have a current and accurate reference list upon request from your hiring manager. 

Typically, companies hiring in Kenya request a minimum of three references. If the references are requested before an offer, the list can be sent following an interview as an attachment to the thank-you letter.

Pro Tip: 

  • Get permission before adding a contact to your reference list.
  • Include appropriate contact information i.e. Name, company, address, phone number, and email
  • Select references who are able to speak specifically about your qualifications for the job for which you are applying
  • Request a recommendation letter from your references e.g a colleague or supervisor.

Recommendation Letter

Recommendation letters aren’t always required, but they’re a good piece of supporting documentation. A recommendation letter is typically written by an employer, professional business connection, client, teacher, coach, or someone who can attest to an individual’s work or academic performance.

Always take the opportunity to ask for letters of recommendation when you can. You never know when you may need them.

Educational Transcripts

You should have copies of your educational records upon your interviewer’s request either as PDF files or hard copies. In cases where companies hiring in Kenya expect certain qualifications, having these documents ready will give you a competitive edge.

Thank you Letter

A thank you letter is very important for matters networking to the post-interview stage. This vital piece of document not only demonstrates professionalism but also creates well-needed rapport with your connections or hiring managers. 

Companies hiring in Kenya will not outrightly point out they expect a thank you letter, who would? It is your chance to restate your gratitude for the interview opportunity, confirm your interest and leave a roadmap for follow-up.

Confirmation Letter

This little drop of gold maintains communication between you and your hiring manager during the onboarding process. It can be used to understand the next steps and follow up on necessary details and requirements.

Job- Declining Letter

Once you understand your job search goals and your professional value, it is normal to have a ready-made template for this type of communication. The best candidates get multiple job offers from companies hiring in Kenya and therefore, this piece of document politely declines an offer and provides a reason as to why. Instead of disregarding prospective companies that are bidding for you, this is how to leave a positive mark and an opportunity for future considerations.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, ensure you label your documents appropriately. Follow a consistent naming pattern across all your documents. This will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers and give a more professional first impression. 

Once you have all supporting documents ready, you must follow the employer’s instructions by carefully reading the job description and understanding what documents are required and how to submit them. Additionally, make sure to always carry printed copies of each of the required documents to an interview to leave with your hiring manager.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what career documents should be in your toolkit. Simply understand what documents are important for your job search or career growth strategy and have them readily available.