Top questions to ask in an internship interview

If you’ve ever been interested in gaining abundant professional experience with a company, an internship is a perfect way to get started. Before we discuss why internships in Kenya are crucial to jump-starting any career, here’s what an internship entails.

An internship is a short-term work experience offered by an employer (or organization) to a student (or trainee) to get some entry-level exposure to valuable experience and pertinent industry knowledge. Ideally, interns spend their time working on relevant projects, learning about the field, building professional connections, and developing both hard and soft skills.

Whether you are applying for paid or unpaid internships in Kenya, the interview process provides a unique opportunity for you and the company to learn more about each other. It is perfectly suited to help you understand what you are adept at and what career prospects you might be interested in. If you’re lucky, an internship can ultimately be your golden ticket to a fulfilling full-time job.

In this article, we will cover significant items you can ask your hiring manager to make a lasting impression during your internship interview.

Company Culture

Firstly, inquiring about the company culture builds on what it would be like working at the firm. Understanding the company values, goals, ethics and working environment will give you a clear picture of how your personality, values and goals fit into the culture for the best internship experience.

 Typical questions include:

  • What are the company’s core values?
  • How would you describe what it’s like working at this company?
  • Might you give me three words to describe the firm’s culture?
  • If you had to choose the company’s motto, what would it be and why?

Main Responsibilities

In order to get the full scope of the internship, you’ll be curious about what an intern’s workday looks like. Having a detailed account of your regular tasks and responsibilities will help you make informed decisions about the position and how it relates to your skills and interests. A few to consider:

  • Can you please elaborate on the day-to-day responsibilities of the job?
  • What are my main responsibilities with this internship?
  • Are there other duties that might be expected of me?

Success Parameters

Everyone wants to be successful at something, which is no different for internships in Kenya. This line of questioning displays your positive and proactive attitude to growing professionally and your focus on the right performance criteria for the company as well.

Are there weekly or bi-weekly feedback meetings with your supervisor? Are there specific criteria on which you will be evaluated? And how exactly is the feedback process structured? Some questions to consider are: 

  • What are ways in which I can guarantee success in this role?
  • To be successful in the position, are there specific goals I should consider?
  • Are there regular team meetings to ensure feedback for success in the position?

Main Challenges

Every job comes with obstacles and these questions show that you are realistic and prepared for problem-solving challenges. You will be able to have a well-rounded approach to executing your duties and managing common challenges in the position.

Here are ideas to ask on that topic:

  • If you had to name one major challenge in the role, what would it be?
  • What are the main difficulties past interns have faced within the position?
  • Are there any particular matters I should pay extra attention to in this role?

Mentorship / Career Growth Potential

This is a smart approach for any career-minded individual but when asking questions on career mobility, be careful not to sound too aggressive but rather communicate a willingness to learn, improve and grow. Moreover, it points to your long-term interest to devote more time to the company beyond what they require for your internship.

Try these:

  • Once I have established considerable capabilities within the role, what would you suggest as ways to obtain further knowledge?
  • Working within the expectations of the internship, are there any special projects I could offer to help with?
  • I believe that building a strong and diverse network is helpful in any capacity, does the company encourage team-building opportunities and mentorship programs?

Evaluation

As an intern, you obviously want to know how your work will be judged or assessed. This goes back to the company culture, does the company value timely feedback and improvement? Questions to think about:

  • In this role, is performance assessed on a regular basis?
  • What can one expect from performance evaluations?
  • What does success look like in this position?
  • Does the internship factor in multi-team member evaluations? Is it peer-reviewed or strictly done by the manager?

Career Advancement

This swings back to the mentorship/growth item above. Additionally, these questions will help you get a peek into further growth and learning opportunities that the position might link to. Other ways to ask questions:

  • When considering ways to continue working within the organization, is full-time employment viable?
  • Does the company offer resources for career advancement?
  • How can I proactively add value to the company (once the internship is completed)?

Next steps

These questions are indispensable for wrapping up an interview. The feedback offers you structure on what to expect after the interview and presents a great opportunity for your hiring manager to address any pending concerns. Such questions include;

  • Do you have additional questions or concerns regarding my background or qualifications?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?
  • If I’m considered for the role, what should I expect for the onboarding process?

Now that you’ve got a solid idea of how to frame your questions when seeking internships in Kenya, you should be one step closer to getting your foot in the door. Finally, remember to stay focused, interested in what you bring to the organization, and confident, but not overly so.

Go for it!!

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. 

Graduates posing for a picture

6 success tips for a college graduate

Being out of college is a great milestone in any young person’s life. It is like the ultimate end of something great and the beginning of something even more extraordinary. 

For many graduates, this is the defining moment of their careers as they venture out for fresh graduate jobs. On that note, here are success tips to help graduates transition into their professional lives. 

Understanding your goals and values

You’ve probably been given this advice a lot more than you care to admit. The reality is, in understanding, you gain a deeper perspective of who you are as an individual. 

The secret of success also lies in understanding that the idea of success is relative and uniquely coherent to every individual. Acknowledging your goals is the first step to visualising your version of success.

What is your unique personality, what intrigues you, what challenges you, and what makes you uniquely you? Taking a moment to reassess these basic aspects will place you at a better advantage to make thoughtful career decisions that will ultimately impact your career trajectory. 

Break down your goals into smaller attainable plans 

Turning your long-term goals into short-term plans not only gives you more confidence in accomplishing your goals but also gives you an opportunity to devise and improve your action plan.

The world of work for a fresh campus graduate can be incredibly tumultuous. As you prepare to get acquainted with fresh graduate jobs, it is imperative that you commit to self-discipline. This SMART goal strategy will ensure your goals are more approachable and attainable.

  • Specific: Identify your task.
  • Measurable: Determine how you’ll measure your goal.
  • Achievable: Create realistic goals within your control.
  • Relevant: Focus on goals that will guide you toward your idea of success.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for accountability.

Sharpen your skills 

Now that you are a degree smarter, allow me to burst your bubble. “It’s not enough!” 

It’s probably the most counterintuitive word of advice but the most factual. College may qualify you for better opportunities but with every new challenge you undertake, you’ll realize there’s always a gap in your knowledge.

Discover and develop a routine that best suits your learning process and needs, whether by reading, leveraging online professional courses or seeking mentorship opportunities. The idea is to never stop learning.

Additionally, explore new skills and flexible fresh graduate jobs. This not only helps you to broaden your horizon but also enables you to decipher your passion and what you are adept at.

Manage your time and prioritize your goals

It is necessary to develop good time management skills early on. As you transition, your priorities change, and your workload and responsibilities increase with time. 

When it comes to achieving success, use your goals to guide the way you manage your time by prioritizing the tasks that will keep you on your desired path. 

Time management is a daily practice. I can’t promise that it will always make sense but I can guarantee that you will cover a lot more ground to reach your goals.

Maintain and build valuable networks 

Your biggest asset is your network. All the way from your college professors to college associations, always leverage substantial networks that you can lean on when seeking fresh graduate jobs.

In such an interconnected world, being able to hold up a good conversation, and cultivate valuable connections and relationships away from devices is very crucial. Spruce up your social skills and invest wisely in the right people for your career success.

Stay positive and find your balance

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how you’ll get from point A to B, how you failed to deliver on a project or an unsuccessful job search. Truth is, sometimes your priorities will not easily align and your outcomes may not always be favourable.

Always keep your head up high, re-centre and refocus on what matters at the moment and above all, maintain your mental and physical health. Approach this new phase of your life as just another step in your growth and evolution as a person and professional. 

Bonus Tip

Always explore avenues for career growth while being adaptable and competitive. Go forth and be great!

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!

Man typing CV for international jobs

How To Tailor Your CV For International Standards

When considering applying for a job abroad, it is very important to be aware that hiring managers have different expectations. This blog discusses tips and tricks for applying for international jobs in Kenya and how to write a winning CV.

An international CV is a professional document that candidates use to apply for jobs in a different country. It is not about the format but strategy and aligning your CV with standards and practices that are customary for that region. 

As opposed to a local CV, an international CV focuses on cross-cultural skills and technical know-how. There is no standard practice for writing an international CV, therefore doing some research to cover such bases is most vital.

Typical elements of international CVs

The length of your CV should be at most two pages, and the information should be presented clearly and concisely. It is also good practice to use readable, simple font and outline your most relevant skills and experiences in a bulleted list.

Writing your personal information differs from country to country. A typical American CV doesn’t include some personal details due to restrictions related to job discrimination. Conversely, in some Middle East countries, it’s common to include personal information about your gender, religion, health status, age and marital status on your application. 

An American CV does not usually include references unless upon request but a British CV does. Defer from adding contact information to your reference list without asking for permission as it is unethical and goes against data protection legislation.

When it comes to applying for international jobs in Kenya, the most effective CV communicates your skills and experiences and how culturally adaptable you are as a candidate. Here are my best tips for writing a winning international CV.

Factors to consider when writing an international CV

Research style and format

To make sure your CV contains the right information in the right format, you must research the country’s standard practices. Identify various examples, and common trends in structure and format, then tailor that to the international jobs in Kenya you are applying for.

Differentiate a CV and resume for specific countries

Find out if the country you are applying for jobs differentiates between a CV and a resume. Some countries use these two documents interchangeably while others consider them completely different. Consider the specifics and requirements of the application before making a decision on the document type.

Length 

Depending on the country, figure out what length is most appropriate for your application. Different countries have different expectations for the length of CVs. In Germany and Greece, for example, five-page CVs are common and in the UK, 2 pages are optimal. America typically expects a one-paged CV.

Tone

The tone you use on your CV should reflect some social-cultural values of the country to which you are applying. Look for resume examples in those countries and take note of the tone that is used. This will help you understand how best to showcase your professional strengths and achievements that allow you to rise above your competition.

Language and cross-cultural skills

According to the country’s language preference, you may have to translate your CV or provide an accompanying document with your English CV. This communicates proficiency and thoughtfulness for the culture.

If you are not well conversant with the language of the land, seek out a CV translation service or request a native or advanced speaker proofread your translated CV for errors.

Headshot

For international job applications in the UK, Canada and North America, you do not need to include a photo. Unless your headshot is directly relevant to the job you are applying for, avoid including a photo. Understandably, for countries that require a headshot, ensure it is a professional one.

Parting shot

There is no exact rule for applying for international jobs in Kenya. Always make sure you focus on the style, purpose and effectiveness of your CV for jobs in different countries and cultures. Remember to optimize your CV with keywords and details for applicant tracking software that is widely used by hiring managers.

It is equally important to include your visa status, for eligibility to work in the country you are applying to. Make sure you also provide a current telephone number with the international dialling code for the country where you live. This will help hiring managers to contact you with minimal hassle.

Hopefully, this article has proved useful as you apply for international jobs in Kenya today. Cheers!

Top skills for job vacancies in Kenya today

Top 7 Skills Hiring Managers are Looking For In 2022

Are you looking for a job in Kenya today and are unsure of where to start? You might have a resume ready with your most relevant qualifications but even then still unsure of how to sell yourself for the position. With tons of job vacancies in Kenya, here are the top skills potential employers look for in applicants and how to effectively communicate these skills in an interview.

Problem Solving 

This unique skill expresses your ability to handle challenges, take up risks positively and come up with thoughtful, creative solutions. It is especially important when working with a team. If you are good at brainstorming, then definitely put this on your resume and talk about it in an interview with a potential employer. Highlight a significant event in your past job where you handled uncertainty tactfully and successfully.

Flexibility

Hiring managers are going to want to see that you are able to adapt quickly to any situation. It could be something as simple as being willing to cover someone’s shift for them, or maybe something more complex like being able to shift gears in your thinking about a certain project. The bottom line is that flexibility shows you are open-minded and a team player. Employers are looking for this skill when building their teams.

Creativity

Creativity and problem solving go hand in hand. Oftentimes some problems require creative solutions and this means “thinking outside of the box.” Here is another area where the ability to brainstorm new ideas comes in handy. Hiring managers definitely appreciate creative solutions.

Communication

Communication is one of the most important skills hiring managers are looking for. The ability to speak clearly, listen actively and present yourself efficiently is essential in almost any job. Good written skills are also a huge bonus and what potential employers may be looking for depending on the job description. They are especially important in fields such as marketing, advertising or sales, but they can benefit you in a variety of different industries. Honing in on your verbal and written communication skills and being able to communicate these to hiring managers is key. 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a skill that might come off as trivial but is very crucial in the workplace. It is the ability to separate your internal feelings from getting the job done. Not everyone is born with this skill, but it can be developed over time with practice. Employers don’t want employees who will react emotionally at work impeding performance and creating a toxic work environment. Emotional intelligence shows that you are a professional and can handle interpersonal relationships positively.

Leadership

You don’t have to be the president or CEO to be a leader. Leadership starts with integrity and doing the right thing even when you think no one is looking. You can be a leader in an entry-level position. This involves being supportive, empathetic and fair to others. Taking initiative is another sure way to express your leadership qualities. It can be shown through pitching in to help someone at work or managing a team project. Being a self-starter and also developing others is one of the most satisfying and noble attributes recruiters value.

Responsibility

Being responsible builds trust. Responsibility may mean getting your work done properly and on time. It also means owning up to mistakes you might make along the way and taking the necessary steps to correct them. An extremely powerful skill that all hiring managers are looking for. 

Next Steps

There are so many skills you could incorporate to make yourself more marketable. Once you take a good look at these skills, do a self-evaluation to determine which of these are your greatest strengths. Pick at least three skills to list on your resume when applying for job vacancies in Kenya and align them to specific situations in your job history or even in your everyday life where you have utilized these skills for success. Being able to effectively convey these skills to hiring managers in an interview is going to be key to landing the job. 

For more tips and to view current job vacancies in Kenya today visit https://www.elevolt.co.ke/jobs 

career tips or jobs in kenya

A Cheat Sheet To Advance Your Career This Holiday Season

Your career doesn’t have to take the back seat during the holiday season. Sure, holidays are ideal for rest and relaxation, winding down and easing into family time, taking that vacation holiday you’d been postponing, site-seeing, hiking, whatever it is you love doing. What if you could experience the holiday season festivities and still be strategic in seeking jobs in Kenya? Bingo! It might sound a bit intimidating but the truth is there is no one right or wrong thing to do to advance your career plans. Everyone’s plans will be shaped a little differently according to interests.

Whether you are actively seeking out a new position or setting your sights on advancement within your current organization, the holidays present unique opportunities that can be beneficial for your long-term success. The good news is there’s almost always that voice in your head already looking forward to the new year with all its opportunities and challenges. I’m here to remind you that being motivated counts for so much more than what the year is to bring. Invest in strategies that work for you this holiday season and count yourself steps ahead of everyone else. Here are handy holiday tips to advance your career plans and take the new year by storm.

Man updating professional profile for jobs in Kenya

Revamp your online presence

With the digital era taking precedence in our everyday personal and professional life, what have you got to lose by updating your personal brand? Yes! You are your biggest advocate and that boils down to your social media presence as a professional in your particular field. During your downtime, updating your LinkedIn profile can be a fun and interactive way to update or find new ways to present your specific skills, experiences, and interests while building professional networks. This will put you on the map when bidding for jobs in Kenya that align with your brand. It’s that simple!

Invest in your Network

The holidays are a time for festivities and being in tune with the holiday spirit, it is imperative you engage in social gatherings that could give you the upper hand in your career plans. Don’t be too aggressive with it, it’s not a matter of national security, think of it as a relationship-building opportunity. Catch up with old friends, alumni, former colleagues, and managers that could point you in the right direction or connect you with the best jobs in Kenya.

Go the extra mile by scheduling an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your career strategy and layout thoughtful plans for the new year. Research and register for upcoming career fairs and events that could potentially elevate your career. Lastly don’t forget that learning is a lifelong process, therefore why would you miss out on the opportunity to gear up and build skills for professional growth using platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or even discover a new passion through YouTube tutorials. You can also review graduate programs and scholarships that might tickle your fancy. The bottom line is to leverage the resources you have and seek out viable opportunities for your career advancement.

Women networking

Be resourceful to others

The holiday season is illuminated by the beauty of giving back. You got it! It’s not all about you. Giving back is a form of gratitude. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. 

Volunteering for community projects could expose you to like-minded individuals who might impact not just your professional life but your personal life. You could guide and advise people who look up to you whether it’s a cousin who is following on the same career path as you or a colleague who interns at your organization. 

By being resourceful to others, you are building a mutually beneficial relationship that could be beneficial down the road. Some other ways to cultivate gratitude are writing a thoughtful thank-you note or sending an email appreciating milestones throughout the year. Lastly, tap into a mindful meditation by being present and aware of your thoughts and emotions and deliberately guiding your actions through clear intention.

Realign Your Goals and Strategies

Aside from the holidays being vital for allowing you time off from a typical mundane work schedule, it’s the perfect time to think about how you intend to land jobs in Kenya and what strategies are working for you. Here are some vital questions to consider when assessing your career goals.

Have a conversation with yourself even as you take a stroll or sip on Coladas. Internalize and reflect on what you want from the new year and write it down in your journal or planner. Don’t forget to jot down small step-by-step strategies to achieve those goals, yes! get those new year’s resolutions in check, better yet, make new ones!

Lady writing down a career plan

Challenge yourself to think out of the box

There’s beauty in seeing different perspectives on something. This holiday season is your moment because that side hustle you’ve been thinking about will not start itself, neither will that promotion at work be waiting for you to get back from your holiday buzz. Hey! I’m all for recharging over the holidays but you can still make progress while at it.

For example, if you have a passion to start your own bakery, now is the time to plan out an itinerary of action that balances out with your work schedule, if you love writing, you can draft a few samples and share them with close friends and colleagues. Your career shouldn’t override your passions because it is not the only way to honor your identity and interests.

With these easy strategies, you’ll be well-positioned to enjoy the holiday downtime and career satisfaction and fulfillment in the New Year. Happy holidays folks!

6 Vital Questions To Land The Best Careers In Kenya

6 Vital Questions To Land The Best Careers In Kenya

Throughout life, we are faced with so many decision-making situations that force us to be pragmatic to make thoughtful decisions for our careers, relationships, and lifestyles. A fulfilling career constitutes a wholesome life, therefore, navigating through career shifts can be daunting especially when all other career prospects seem so far-fetched and almost always saturated.

For the lucky few, choosing the best careers in Kenya is simple, but the challenge comes in when someone is unhappy with their station in life, wants to take up a new challenge, or wants to pivot to a whole new career. Companies hiring in Kenya can attest to employing some of the most dynamic career-oriented individuals. The big question whether you are just getting started or are gainfully employed is “What do you want in your next career?” 

As individuals, we are constantly evolving and with that, our priorities and perspectives may change. Considering a job pivot doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, it simply means you are on a different path, and that is absolutely okay. Being objective and aligning your interests, values, and goals will go a long way to ensure your perfect career match.

Here are a few questions to guide people through the motions of finding the best careers in Kenya.

Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations

Who are you?

This might sound like one of the most recurrent platitudes of all time but in reality, everything comes down to a deeper self-reflection of who you are as an individual. What is your unique personality, what intrigues you, what challenges you, and what makes you uniquely you? Taking a moment to reassess these basic aspects will place you at a better advantage to make thoughtful career decisions that will ultimately impact your career trajectory. 

What are your interests?

Intentionally choosing to focus on what you love doing, all limitations aside can help you better grasp what you would love to spend your time on. Imagine you have all the free time in the world, what would you rather be doing? What books, research topics fascinate you? These are just but a few ideas of how to determine your interests in life but feel free to add to the pile until you can describe your interests professionally without a shadow of a doubt.

What are your unique strengths and talents?

I get perturbed when I hear people say they don’t have significant talents or strengths. This is probably one of the hardest things to jot down for some in a resume when seeking the best careers in Kenya. I’m here to remind you that every single individual is dynamic and has something to offer. Some qualities that you may assume are not important, are what make up your strengths and talents. When do you feel most useful to others and how can these qualities be translated into your work life? Could it be that you give the best advice or are very good at problem-solving, are you friendly and relatable? or do you manage projects with ease?

Women at a career meeting

What does your ideal day look like?

It is imperative to think in line with what your perfect day would look like. Make a mental picture of how your schedule would be, the projects you would relish undertaking, the kind of work environment that best suits you. For example, do you excel as a remote worker or in an office set-up, or would you prefer a hybrid working experience? 

Additionally, aligning your thoughts to the kind of workplace and culture you prefer, and the kind of team you would like to be associated with will ultimately help you narrow down on some of the best careers in Kenya.

What is your mission?

Knowing what compels you to get up every morning is what sets you apart from someone who is merely working for a paycheck. What motivates you to do what you do? Ask yourself “why” and ponder on the reasons you come up with. Regularly have a five-year career check to re-assess if your measurable goals are on par with your mission. This will help you avoid the haphazard moves in your career that will take away from the time you need to carve out your perfect niche.

What is your salary expectation?

At this point, you already know what you are bringing to the table and as such, you can carefully pick and choose terms that are most favourable to you. What kind of compensation makes you feel appreciated? Do not just focus on the base salary, think of other benefits and perks that will allow you to be at your tip-top performance. The idea is to root for yourself because no one else can do it better than you. 

These questions will give you headway into the kind of career you want to pursue. 

Researching best careers in Kenya

What’s next? 

The next step is to amour yourself with research and information around the career you are gunning for. While you are at it, make sure to build a significant network towards your perfect career fit. 

best practices for the remote job market

8 Best Practices For Excelling In The Post-covid Remote Job Market

The COVID 19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our modern-day lives, it has changed how we work and conduct business. Companies have been forced to experiment with the work-from-home arrangement and many that weren’t able to adapt in time had to bow to fate rendering many people jobless. 

It’s looking up though, businesses are embracing remote work and as a result, the number of people working from home and remote-based job opportunities have been on the rise. You might have found yourself in such a situation or are eyeing a remote role and are quite unsure about navigating and excelling in this new style of work. Worry not, this guide will equip you with the most effective best practices to help you land that remote job and excel in remote-based roles.

Self-management

“Self-management, therefore, is all about becoming your own leader by training your mental, physical, social and intellectual faculties in different ways.”

― Dr. Prem Jagyasi

This is a valuable competency, it’s governing different aspects of one’s life effectively. Working from home can be challenging for you and your team if you haven’t mastered the art of self-management and learned how to stay on top of things on your own. As a team player, you are expected to do your part and your contribution is an intrinsic ingredient to your team’s success. Be mindful of your thoughts, actions, and feelings and how they impact you and the people around you. Take the lead on yourself proactively, keeping track and improving on areas where there are deficiencies.

Your manager’s job is to support you and give you everything you need to succeed in your role and not to keep you on your toes. Make it easier for them and your colleagues by understanding your scope of contribution and doing what you need to do without oversight.

Self management while working remotely

Proper time management and scheduling

Time management is for all levels and a crucial factor when working both remotely and in the office. Time is a scarce resource, but you can make the best of yours by organizing your tasks, prioritizing them, and allocating time for each of them productively.  

Proper time management brings out the leader in you, your team and your company will lean on your efficiency and that will make you indispensable, at the very least,  it will help you attain a healthy work-life balance. When you have your time well allocated you will be able to hit deadlines at work and make it for that dance class. That’s a win-win, right?

There are a lot of tools out there for time management and scheduling.  Some of these tools include, google calendar, asana, one note and trello.

Revamp your resume and cover letter

The skills you need to navigate the current work environment have changed and as such, you need to align your resume and cover letter with the market demands. Hiring managers are looking for people who can communicate clearly with ease, manage their time and workload, and deliver with minimal oversight. Highlight the skills and strengths that position you as an effective remote teammate. These are traits like:

  • Time management
  • Written communication
  • Organization
  • Self-motivation
  • Ability to work independently

What if you don’t have any remote work experience? Highlight the previous work experience that impacted you with skills that position you for success in remote positions. Here are a few tips to improve your resume

Flexible and professional workspace

I’m at home, can it be professional? The answer is yes and it’s not a cliché. Psychologists have proved that a serene workspace will help you stay focused and improve productivity. It may seem like an unnecessary endeavor, but tidying up your home workspace will help you stay motivated and organized, and get you more creative and faster in thinking and problem-solving. 

Set up a space that is entirely meant for work, with good lighting, airflow, and fewer distractions. This doesn’t need to be spacious or prominent, even your bedside works, it just needs to be set up for work. Whatever environment makes you feel motivated and ready for success in your tasks should be a priority.

Skill up and get familiar with common remote tools

The remote work style relies on several tools and platforms that are vital for day-to-day business activities. Expertise in these tools will help you to get up and running quickly in a new role, your fluency with these tools will translate directly into your performance and output. 

Most of these tools/platforms provide free educational resources and even certification courses for their users. Some of these tools include, asana, google workspace, slack, hubspot, zoom and jira. Check out this guide on how to leverage online courses for career growth

remote work tools

Polish your online profiles

With the decrease in direct interactions and one on one meetings, hiring managers are shifting to social profiles to learn more about potential candidates. Your social media and professional profiles are your public brand portals, make sure they are aligned to your career goals and that they promote your brand. 

Build an online network

The world is now more connected than ever via the internet and social platforms. Connecting and building relationships with people in roles that you’re aiming for can save you a lot of time and hassle when looking for a new job. Start small, brush off on that LinkedIn profile then reach out to people in companies you admire for tips and advice that will empower you towards your career goals.

Prepare for virtual interviews and screening

Just like in-person, virtual interviews require a lot of preparation and practice. You have probably already worked on your in-person interview skills, maybe even practiced with a mock interview but have you considered doing the same for virtual interviews? It’s just as important to understand how to navigate a virtual interview and leave a lasting impression. While at it, familiarize yourself with tools like zoom, google hangout, and skype. 

Make sure to dress appropriately for the interview, maintain a good posture and eye contact with the camera while speaking and keep that smile on. Companies have different processes but arming yourself with good on-camera skills and a stable internet connection will give you much headway during a virtual interview. 

Here is a MUST watch career clip on navigating job interviews online by Kathy Caprino a career coach and senior contributor at Forbes.

Final thoughts

Is the global shift to remote work sustainable? We don’t know for sure but if history is anything to go by, in the past we have survived situations like the pandemic by adapting to changes in our environments and the work environment is no exception. This means that it’s high time to shift our mindset and equip ourselves for the remote work revolution.

How to Leverage Online Courses for Professional Growth

With the digital age, many people have probably interacted with online courses whether for professional growth or just self-development. Online courses have over time been adopted significantly into education systems and also by professionals around the world looking to upskill, gain further knowledge and advance their career so as to distinguish themselves in the job market. To reap the full benefits out of online courses, here are few tested tips used by professionals in various fields and levels.

Narrow down your research

Having a clear set plan on what you want to study and why will give you so much more perspective as opposed to just choosing a random course program without a plan. There are millions of professional courses out there from different learning institutions and private educators, therefore choosing to narrow down on a brand that best suits you and your goals will set you apart. 

Evaluate different websites offering online courses from learning institutions and professional educators and experts in the fields you endeavour to be a part of. Allow yourself some time to research and understand their teaching methodologies and how they apply to your goals. Lastly, you can never go wrong with reading reviews from other professionals who have undertaken that particular program.

Time matters

Knowing and being completely honest with the time constraints you might have will ultimately allow you to get maximum benefit from your online course programs. How much time do you have after work hours? How can you integrate online learning to your daily schedule? Does the learning process allow flexibility?

You should internalize all these questions before signing up for any professional course. Luckily learning programs are structured differently therefore, you can choose what works for you while having a balance between your work, life and career goals.

Put your knowledge into practice

Practice makes perfect right? So why go through a whole online course only to leave it at that? You can only consider it a successful endeavour if you put what you have learnt into practical knowledge by integrating it into your personal and professional life.

Practicing what you have learnt is a great incentive to keep learning and developing yourself. One of the best steps any professional can do is to get ahead of the curve and anticipate skills they may need in the future, acquire the experience and make it count.

Think strategically

Many people fail to achieve professional growth because their focus is on the qualification rather than the skills acquired. Having a clearly spelt out plan for your life and career is very crucial to making your study count. When you understand why you study and how it fits with your life goals and career development, then you have the strongest possible motivation. 

Finally, with a constantly evolving world e-learning is slowly but surely taking center stage for many people around the world. Despite a few pitfalls, online learning has  translated into more educators exploring online solutions for training as well as students and professionals keeping up with online learning in a fast-paced world. 

Online professional learning is indeed accessible, flexible and efficient but keep in mind that you have to be smart in your selection. Make sure you are going for something legitimate and worth your time and money. The qualifications you seek whether to learn new skills or develop your career should significantly align to your study. 

When you choose to invest in your future, choose to do it the right way!

Certification in any given professional course is greatly satisfying but being able to apply that knowledge into real life situations is ultimately your biggest win. Not all courses offer certification but that doesn’t mean you cannot list them on your resume. Here are a few bonus leads to courses that may spark your interest.

Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University

As a working professional whether having previous experience in the field or not, this course is dedicated to walking you through the basics of understanding computers. This is an entry level course from a top tier university and the best part is that it’s free! unless you need a certificate of completion.

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Google

This particular course examines how digital tools are revolutionizing marketing. It is proving to be a necessary skill on your resume because marketing is an all rounded phenomenon and to stay ahead of the curve you have to understand marketing strategies that work for your career.

Advanced Google Analytics

This course offered by Google gives you the opportunity to learn how to collect website and application usage data, analyze and process it into reports for business decision-making.

Business English: Networking, University of Washington

Whether we like to admit it or not, communicating effectively is a key aspect in networking. For any business minded or career oriented person this course will enhance your business communication and how you present yourself professionally in any setting, be it on the phone, over email or in person.

Introduction to personal branding, University of Virginia

In this day and age personal branding is the only way to curve out a niche for yourself in a very competitive job market. Therefore, this course demystifies how to go about personal branding and make it specific to your career goals and aspirations.

Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking, Harvard University

In a contentious world, acquiring skills in persuasive writing and public speaking is especially crucial. Being in a position to sell a product, service or idea while conveying a well curated and convincing message is a special skill that professionals could tap into to benefit their personal brand and professional lives.