Coworker making an office presentation

8 steps to identify and develop soft skills

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are abilities and attributes that make a person more dynamic and effective in working with others. They revolve around personal relationships, character, and mindset.

By nurturing these non-technical skills you boost your work performance, build stronger relationships and increase your chances of landing the best employment opportunities in Kenya. Soft skills, also referred to as transferable skills or employability skills align with every industry at every professional level.

Employers typically look for positively all-rounded individuals who not only get the job done but also fit the company culture. Here are several ways to start developing your soft skills for success in the workplace.

Start with why- understand your goals

Familiarize yourself with the concept of soft skills and what they mean for your career trajectory. At different points in your education or career, you’ve experienced working with different people who have diverse personalities and are from different cultures and backgrounds.

If you experienced miscommunication, for example, you can focus your efforts on being direct instead of elaborate while maintaining positive body language and practising active listening. By identifying your growth areas and setting goals to improve you can successfully land the best employment opportunities in Kenya.

Develop a learning mindset

Practice is the best way to acquire soft skills and demonstrate them effectively. On your journey of enhancing any soft skills, you may encounter setbacks but also many successes too. 

It is important to carve out opportunities for improvement. For example, if you failed to address conflict effectively, you can figure out how to handle it better and learn how to mitigate future occurrences. Every day is a learning curve and a chance to be better or do better at something.

Self-reflect on your strengths and weaknesses

Being self-aware is the key to truly harnessing your best abilities and being conscious of your weaknesses. When seeking the best employment opportunities in Kenya, understanding self not only builds confidence but also gives one perspective on how to succeed as an individual and professional.

Plan & Prioritize what skills to develop

Once you have identified what skills are needed for your success, you can begin addressing your skills gap starting with the most prominent. If you’re working for a particular company or have certain career aspirations, consider targeting those skills that align with the culture and competencies of the job.

Practice intelligently

The key to mastery of intrinsic attributes is practising intelligently. If you wish to improve your written communication you have to be willing to develop your writing skills by joining a writing workshop, taking up an online professional course or directly asking your supervisor for training opportunities.

The best employment opportunities in Kenya present opportunities to practice and grow interpersonal skills. This is why acquiring soft skills is unique and requires a proactive approach to finding avenues and resources for learning.

Be open-minded and patient

Developing soft skills essentially requires a change in habit and mindset. You can’t gain experience overnight. You have to maintain steady progress while being proactive, patient and resourceful.

The workplace is constantly evolving with technological advancements and a diversifying work culture which can be challenging to anyone. Learning how to be calm, positive and adaptable is an attractive asset to most employers.

Leverage feedback 

Improving your soft skills also means being open to feedback you may receive from your supervisors, managers and coworkers. Constructive criticism is a very effective feedback mechanism that informs how you communicate and interact with others while demonstrating ingenuity in the workplace. Feedback will help you keep track of your progress and develop your problem areas.

Update your resume

Soft skills play an important role in your CV or resume writing when you want to land the best employment opportunities in Kenya. You may find that you possess many of the required traits even if you don’t match the exact job profile. Always keep your resume updated to reflect the soft skills most relevant to the jobs you’re applying for.

Pro Tip:

  • Research your prospective employer’s company culture and values. 
  • Carefully read the job description and find out what transferable skills are needed. 
  • Highlight the particular skills and qualities your employer is looking for.

In closing, working on yourself should be an exciting adventure therefore, seek to always learn and develop skills that help you grow personally and professionally. 

A man and woman shaking hands

8 habits of a highly effective job seeker

The difference between a highly effective job seeker and an ineffective one is that no matter the season this person will always land the best paying jobs in Kenya. It is not a genetic predisposition but rather strategy, initiative and focus.

You may need to go out of your way to get your desired job. Remember, nobody owes you a job, but you owe it to yourself to achieve your dream career. In this article, I will give you success tips of an outrageously effective job seeker to implement in your job search strategy.

Build personal networks

This individual is intentional in creating personal networks they can leverage in their job-seeking efforts. It can be as simple as creating touchpoints with individuals working in their dream companies to maintaining business networks as they transition through the best paying jobs in Kenya

Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but consistency goes a long way. You never know when one of your contacts could put in a good word for you or point you in the right direction. Sometimes, it really does come down to who you know.

Always be sincere in creating valuable contacts that can advance your career. It does not necessarily need to be strictly business, you can share experiences and sincere personal connections. Being out of work does not mean you have to be out of touch, so be sure to build and maintain your networking momentum.

Proactively update their resume

With so many resume tips out there, this timeless tip is the simplest yet most overlooked. Your resume and CV are dynamic documents and as such should continuously be updated in content and structure.

Your resume requires a spring clean every so often focusing on brevity, action verbs, no personal pronouns, skills that fit the specific job and using numbers and metrics. Individuals who develop a strong customized resume or CV when seeking the best paying jobs in Kenya will almost certainly increase their chances dramatically.

Focus on tangible results and practical solutions

In a healthy job market, candidates can promote themselves with their employment history, education and related assets. But when no one is hiring, you may need to focus your efforts on practical solutions like understanding and identifying your employer’s immediate needs and wants. 

If you can effectively answer this age-old question even in a down market, you will be able to carve out an opportunity for yourself. The outcome of your job search should never be based on external circumstances of the job market but rather on your mindset and adaptability.

Prioritize and track your job search efforts

Successful job seekers realize that their efforts involve constantly devising and improving their strategy. A strategy is what drives you towards your goals. Job seeking requires planning, scheduling and even tracking your efforts through networking, filling out applications or searching job sites. To land the best paying jobs in Kenya, the key is consistency.

Make a point of tracking your efforts to ensure that you don’t miss any application deadlines and know when and how to make a follow-up after applying for multiple jobs. A job seeker who understands that job seeking is also an important task, are true go-getters and never give up even when they hit a snug. They reinvent and adapt to new solutions while keeping an open mind and a positive attitude.

They go for jobs outside their comfort zone

A highly effective job seeker is always an out-of-the-box thinker. This means that they are open to being geographically mobile for better career possibilities or even diversifying their career options. They identify their most relevant transferable skills and experiences and put themselves forward for opportunities that could elevate their career portfolio.

They focus on tangible value rather than holding onto redundant professions that don’t serve their needs.  Additionally, they welcome chances to try new things, meet new people, work on different projects and pick up new skills.

Create and manage a personal brand

From identifying and articulating your value proposition on your resume and cover letter to building a robust LinkedIn profile, your personal brand is an overall representation of who you are as a professional.

An effective job seeker will make deliberate and consistent efforts to build their brand online and offline for better visibility by potential employers. This allows hiring managers to learn about their most relevant skills and qualifications right off the bat. Always determine your unique selling proposition and build on that.

Focus on the process, not the outcome

An effective job seeker is also self-aware and patient when seeking employment. They understand it takes time, effort and resilience. When one opportunity doesn’t pan out, they know to keep a positive attitude and look forward to others. They focus on improving their job-seeking strategy rather than getting the best paying jobs in Kenya by setting actionable goals to lead them to their desired outcome. 

A learning attitude

A highly effective job seeker will always take advantage of learning opportunities that could impact their career positively. Whether it means leveraging online professional courses, attending a career seminar or reading books and publications, this individual is always on the move to improve and learn new skills.

It is crucial to be keen on staying informed on current industry trends and investing in upskilling and reskilling so that you can boost your employability. If your industry necessitates a specific skill or knowledge base, make sure you pursue that training so that you can stay current and competitive for the best paying jobs in Kenya today.

Final thoughts

If you are just getting into the job market or you are a seasoned professional looking to level up on the corporate ladder, remember job seeking is an art form that takes practice and continual improvement.

Pro tip: Always make short targeted lists of all your skills. This ultimately gives you a better understanding of who you are, what you know and your value proposition every time you are job hunting.

You have the power to influence your career possibilities and land your perfect job. All the best!

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) in 2022

How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) In 2022

Your CV is the first impression you make on the employer. Therefore, you want to write what makes you the best fit for the position without overwhelming or losing your employer’s interest. It’s almost an art – to convince with words and facts.

But it’s easier said than done. How to write the perfect CV? This article will guide you through how to write a CV to land your dream job. Let’s begin.

What is a CV?

A CV is your curriculum vitae (Latin for “the course of your life.“) It’s a brief summary of your academic journey, professional career, and personal information that helps companies decide whether you are the best fit for the position.

How Long Should a CV Be?

The first piece of advice, and the most important one, is to keep things short and succinct. The perfect CV or resume is typically one to two pages long depending on your experience level. You want to avoid information that does not serve the purpose of your job application.

To narrow your CV’s length, include only the most relevant parts of your education and work experience. There’s no need to mention that 2014 summer camp unless it adds value.

That said, include relevant accomplishments that help you stand out among other candidates in the job market. Did you exceed your former company’s KPIs as a manager? Did you lead a team to success? Your prospective employer wants to read that. 

How to write a CV

1. Describe Achievements, Not Tasks

The employer already knows what a social media manager or software developer does, so it defeats the purpose to describe tasks instead of relevant accomplishments in your role. Say you used to be a marketing manager – Then a good example of achievement is: “consistently met and exceeded the KPIs and growth goals by 12%.”

As an employee, you want to bring value to the corporation. You need to stand out and let the company know what you can do for them. If you only include information about tasks, such as “supervised reports and designed new strategies,” you’re wasting your CV potential.

2. Include Keywords

You want to highlight your skills and competencies using keywords, as most CVs go through an initial ATS screening process. A good idea is to use some words already included in the job description.

If the company is looking for “an experienced accountant with a Business Administration degree,” you want to include your Business Administration degree and 3 years of accountancy experience. The program will probably recognize these words as desirable, and you’ll move forward in the recruiting journey.

3. Include Only Relevant Information to the Job

You may have an English degree and a Computer Science degree which is great, but recruiters are looking for relatable skills and experiences for the position.

Following this example, if you’re applying for an editor role, you may want to leave your computer science degree out. It may sound counterproductive because the more educated you are, the better, right? Yet, the truth is that most companies seek well-trained specialists for the advertised position.

There are exceptions to this rule, for example, a business administration degree may complement the job you are applying for. This means that on top of fulfilling your job requirement you can grasp how the company works, and thus implement changes that lead to success.

4. Identify the Right Interests

Some people include an “Interest” or “About Me” section in their curriculum vitae. This can bring value to your CV or, on the contrary, make you sound unprofessional.

Don’t write about generic interests such as being social or traveling. Most employers won’t be impressed by them, and you may look like you’re trying to make up for lacking other valuable interests that suggest you are a good cultural fit.

Real, valuable interests are those that complement your education and abilities. For example, if you want to become an editor, writing your own blog or publishing an e-book are interesting details. If you’re a programmer, having an app of your own with over a thousand downloads is an advisable interest to include.

5. Use Active Verbs When Possible

You want to present yourself as an active employee who takes the initiative and makes game-changer adjustments. Use verbs like “achieved,” “led,” “analyzed,” and “implemented.”

It’s also a good idea to avoid using “I.” The employer already knows it’s your CV – Everything on that document relates to you. Instead, use the active verbs mentioned in the previous paragraph.

6. Tailor the CV to Each Job

Although this is time-consuming, it shows interest and effort on your side to tailor your CV for each job. It’s easy to send the same CV to a hundred companies, but will you stand out in any recruitment processes? Narrow down your search and target your CV to specific jobs. This is a more thoughtful approach to applying for jobs in Kenya today

Additionally, writing a cover letter accompanying your CV or resume demonstrates interest and adds value to your professional statement. Unless the corporation specifically asks you not to include a cover letter, it’s advisable to attach one to your curriculum vitae.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article helped you see the bigger picture of a well-written CV. You’re never putting “too much time or effort” into it, as it’s what makes the difference between a hired or rejected employee.
Take your time, tailor to each job you are applying for, and carefully describe your skills and experiences to be on the path to success.

How to write the experience section

How To Write The Experience Section Of Your CV

Writing the experience section can be daunting as it takes up the bulk of your resume highlighting detailed information about your employment history. This section of your CV is where you showcase your previous jobs, experience, and skills that can land you job opportunities in Kenya. It needs to be accurate, articulate, and highlight why you are the right candidate for the prospective position you are applying for.

Determining what should be included in your work experience section and how to write and format is extremely crucial. Keep reading for an easy guide on how to write the experience section of your CV along with some tips and tricks.

Highlight targeted results for job opportunities in Kenya

Hiring managers and future employers know the basics. Bullet points should focus on how you specifically managed previous positions successfully. In addition, make sure you are listing your previous experience in reverse chronological order with your most relevant and recent experience first.

Often, full-time job opportunities in Kenya serve as the primary content for your experience section, but you can include internships, volunteer work, temporary gigs, and part-time jobs emphasizing skills that match the job description.

Pro Tip: If you’ve just recently graduated or have little to no work experience, factor in your college training before your work experience. This will help showcase your value to hiring managers.

Use action verbs and keywords 

Capturing the reader’s interest is very important. Instead of overusing adjectives – which is easy to do – use action verbs to highlight your abilities and accomplishments at past jobs. For example, pioneered, transformed or negotiated. Remember to NEVER include criticism about previous positions.

Additionally, incorporate relevant keywords applicable to specific job requirements for applicant tracking systems otherwise known as ATS, used by recruiters to find the best matches for open roles. 

Quantify Key achievements from previous job opportunities in Kenya

Numbers say everything! They are specific, clear, and factual. It is a great way to wow potential employers by proving your value and commitment to success. You should also ensure all dates and employment details are factual and add up.

Professional courses and training programs

Skills acquired from professional courses and training programs in prior jobs show initiative and commitment to career progression, highlighting abilities that can be an asset to potential employers.

Promotions and Awards

If you received any awards or promotions from past jobs, make sure they shine through on your CV. Focus on your strengths and any transferable skills applicable to the job you are bidding for. This will not only pick your hiring manager’s attention but also illustrate you can excel in various job opportunities in Kenya

How much work experience should I include in my CV?

It is recommended to list up to fifteen years of relevant experience on your CV. However, whilst recruiters and employers want to see your work history and understand your expertise and skills, you DO NOT need to list every job you’ve ever had. Make sure you only cover key experiences directly related to prospective job opportunities in Kenya.

On the other hand, entry-level candidates with little to no professional experience should list experiences from internships, part-time jobs, temporary gigs, and volunteer work. Prioritize experiences that speak to your professional brand and align with the job you are applying for. In case of a significant employment gap when seeking job opportunities in Kenya, it is critical to provide a valid reason with corresponding dates. 

Experience section run down

  1. Name the company.
  2. Add specific dates of employment.
  3. Write a brief description of work responsibilities.
  4. Use keywords relating to the job description.
  5. Describe quantifiable achievements demonstrating value and success.

In conclusion, make sure you; keep it brief, choose an organized template, distinguish yourself and always check spelling and grammar. For more tips and tricks head over to our website at https://www.elevolt.co.ke/or check out our Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/elevolt.ke/

Writing The Ultimate Cover Letter

The Art Of Writing The Ultimate Cover Letter

Cover letters have long existed in the job application process. Although there has been debate surrounding its importance in recent years, it still remains a viable form of communication in the job-seeking process. A cover letter is a document that accompanies a resume and allows you to convey more of your personality. A resume tells employers your skills and your experience, but they only get to know you on a more personal level through a cover letter. It’s an introduction of who you are with examples of relevant accomplishments and a call to action.

Yes, cover letters are probably read by a fragment of hiring managers who are trying to go through stacks of applications, but that shouldn’t deter you from using it to your advantage. Just like an advertisement is meant to capture the attention of a client, your cover letter is a lucrative way to get your foot in the door of a target company or for an opportunity you’ve been gunning for. 

Lady applying for a job

What is the purpose of a Cover letter?

On top of acting as an introductory feature to your expertise, a cover letter is meant to go beyond what’s on your CV. It showcases the first impression and gives you a chance to stand out as a strong candidate. It is meant to give a more concrete picture of who you are as a professional.

In the past, a lot of us were fixated on the fact that the cover letter is a make-it-or-break-it kind of affair in the job-seeking process. This equated to oversharing lengthy details, from career aspirations to relevant skill sets and educational qualifications and accolades. It was also a means to showcase top-notch writing aptitude. In today’s digital era, such a cover letter will most probably be struck off as obsolete and wordy. Cover letters are now evolved and serve the purpose of being a relevant header or e-note that leads into your resume.

Your cover letter must get the point across in seconds, therefore you do not have the luxury of wasting your shot at making your first impression. Readers prefer language that is direct and succinct. Research the company to have a deeper understanding of the mission, values, and objectives and carefully outline that to your career trajectory. Your cover letter is not a summary of your resume, rather a “value add” to what is in your resume. 

Drafting a cover letter

Fundamentals of a Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter should not feel like a downer, rather it should be a quick and easy process with these few tips:

Keep it Short and Sweet

A cover letter should answer why you are applying for a particular position. Remember that you have less than 10 seconds to communicate the “why” and prove yourself a worthy candidate. The first strategy is to keep it short and concise (under 250 words). Start by stating your objective clearly then pick three things that determine your career success. Finally, align those career wins to the company goals and objectives.

Have a Main Cover Letter

The second step is to ensure you have a master cover letter that you can tweak according to the various positions you are applying for. This not only saves you time but also saves you the trouble of making egregious spelling mistakes and punctuation errors recreating a new document every other time. Nonetheless, always proofread your cover letter and ensure it is addressed accordingly.

Personalize Your Cover Letter

Personalize your cover letter to the hiring manager or to whom the job directly reports. This shows avid interest in the opportunity or company and sets you apart from going the extra mile to recognize the person who holds that particular position in the organization. You want to avoid being seemingly generic. Phrases like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” are rigid, archaic, and may set you up for failure as an individual who is oblivious or even worse, can’t get a simple job done. My tip is to always personalize your cover letter each time you apply.

Conclusion

To all my brilliant career minds out there, don’t allow your job-seeking process to feel like a mundane experience. Switch that up today by adopting these rare cover letter tips for job applications. Keep your focus and keep your reader’s interest. Remember, today’s job market is very competitive and a well-crafted cover letter can capture interest just on its own merit. Make that count!

WHAT NOT TO ADD TO YOUR RESUME IN 2021

You may be a job seeker who wants to land that dream job or seeking to get that promotion at work, but your efforts seem futile. It is about time you change your “bad luck” into “good fortune” by improving the most important aspect of your job-seeking process, your resume!

You may be missing the mark if you are not hearing back from companies that should have been a perfect fit. Usually, the answer does not lie within your suitability, but within your ability to convey that suitability to recruiters in your CV.

Here are a few pointers on what not to include in your CV inspired by @therealcvguru on Twitter and ultimately becoming a highly sort after candidate.

Career Objective

According to @therealcvguru your career objective can make you stay away from what is important. The most important and effective way to introduce yourself is by conveying your value to a potential employer. Therefore, seek to communicate what you can do, why you are the perfect hire, and how you can solve a problem.

Most career objectives just communicate what you are seeking rather than what you can offer. You must prove your value by communicating what makes you the best candidate for the position you are applying for.

Personal Information

Including personal information like your home address, ID number, date of birth, marital status, age etc. has been used over time in structuring one’s CV but according to @therealcvguru, it is redundant to include such information because if you get hired the company will likely have to conduct a background check.

Photos/ Head Shots

Every human being has an inherent bias in every aspect of life. Assuming that a recruiter is unlikely to be biased is quite superficial. Unless the job you are applying for is dependent on your looks or appearance including a headshot relates to putting yourself in the crossfire of criticism. This might shift the recruiter’s focus from your skills and experience which are more important.

Additional documents

Being that your resume is an important document, it should be a stand-alone document. You should avoid combing other additional documents such as your certificates and copy of your ID to your CV unless requested otherwise, in which case you should attach the documents separately.

Buzzwords/ Cliches

@therealcvguru discusses words that have been overused and therefore lost meaning. You should avoid such words when structuring your CV because the essence of what you are communicating will lose tastefulness. The recruiter might pass you over for the next best candidate not because you lack skill but because you were not convincing or outstanding.

On the other hand, do not be ambiguous. Keep it simple, interesting and edgy!

Graphics

Graphics might be very captivating for the human eye but with the advent of using hiring software’s in the hiring processes, including graphics such as charts, tables, logos etc. might not be compatible depending on the software.

The most common AI in this realm is called applicant tracking software (ATS). Using algorithms and proprietary code, ATS scans a giant stack of virtual resumes to identify candidates meeting specific criteria.

Once the AI finds potential candidates matching those presets, the program whittles down that huge stack to a smaller, more manageable pile. Then only these applications get passed along to hiring managers.

Therefore, avoiding graphics that may deem your resume unreadable to the ATS (depending on which ATS it is) will put you at an advantage.

Unnecessary Fluff

Avoiding unnecessary fluff is simply avoiding unimportant “extra” details. @therealcvguru gives an example of having your CV titled “Curriculum Vitae…” She points out that you only have a few seconds to prove to the recruiter that you are worth a second glance and unnecessary details will not help to that end. Get to the point!

Long paragraphs

Long CVs do not get read in full and sometimes important information gets buried at the bottom – which leads to good candidates being skipped over.

Social Media Links

Do not just include social media links because you see other CV formatting techniques doing the same rather be intentional with your social media links. Unless you are adding your LinkedIn profile, other social media platforms will only apply if they are showcasing your skills and professional abilities in relation to what you are applying for.

References

Some references speak only to specific skill sets. Therefore, adding references should be relevant to what you are applying for. You might have gathered a good number of references in you career so, not including them gives you time to choose which references you would like to pass along for each role.

Lastly, @therealcvguru points out that there are several different CV formats being adjusted every other day, and if you take every piece of advice that comes your way, you will constantly have to keep changing your CV. We should therefore be critical with the advice we decide to take up.