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!!

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 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.

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!

Tap Into A Recruiter’s Psychology And Get “Noticed”

Job seeking is not the most automatic and easy of processes but to be at an edge as you look for your next ideal job, consider a recruiter’s psychology and try to use it to your advantage. Don’t overthink it, just stick around and discover what recruiters really look for when hiring. First and foremost according to research, it is estimated that a recruiter will take only 8 seconds on your resume, the big question is how do you get their attention within such a short span?

Most job seekers want to share everything about themselves in their resume; therefore, their resume becomes cluttered and overwhelming for the recruiter. Moreover, the resume lacks a clear purpose making the recruiter confused about how a candidate’s skills will translate to the role in which they’re applying.

The career site discovered the resumes where recruiters spent the most time and focus had

  • an overview or mission statement at the top of the first page
  • a clear flow with title headers and marked sections supported by bulleted lists of accomplishments
  • relevant keywords presented in context throughout the resume

Take away Tips

Simplicity is your strong suit

When we talk of simplicity we don’t mean have a flat resume! The fact is the person hiring you for the position has probably not been in that position and therefore a cluttered resume does not paint a clear mental picture and will automatically get you into the rejected pile. Being clear, concise, and to the point by pointing out your marketable skills and relevant management experiences will put you at a better advantage.

More to that cutting off extra information like experiences that are not relevant to the position you are applying for will allow you better chances at the job opportunity. This puts greater emphasis on the information that actually matters to the recruiter. Secondly, keep your resume “short and sweet” try to keep your resume to one page, but no more than two pages.

Last but not least, avoid repeating information as it paints your resume redundant. Another pro tip is to ensure that your resume is up to date while you maintain 5 to 10 years relevance.

Key words are ‘key’

Job seekers often complain about not getting their resume past the applicant tracking system (ATS). The reason being is because the ATS looks for specific keywords that are already in the job description. As a job seeker, it’s important to tailor your resume to include those keywords that are relevant to your experience.

Read through a job description thoroughly and try to align your skills and experiences to the particular key words reflected. You can do this by supporting those keywords with professional experiences that demonstrate you are knowledgeable. The worst thing you could do is lie about or exaggerate your experience.

Tailor Your Resume To The Position

Most job seekers have multiple resumes. Each resume is tailored specifically for the role in which they’re applying by using the keywords in that job description. If you have a broad background and are applying for various types of positions, it’s important you tailor your resume to speak to the skills of those positions.

For example, if you’re applying to a developer position, you would want to move non-relevant positions to “Additional Experience”, personalize your summary and skills section as well as the bullet points from your current and previous positions.

Most recruiters appreciate a carefully crafted resume that shows the job seeker took time to fully understand the job description by demonstrating what’s unique about them that will bring value to the job.

Focus on specific accomplishments

Do not be vague when it comes to describing your skills. Use specific examples that point to what you have accomplished rather than what you have done. Candidates that stand out are those that supply a sample of their work. Be it writing, design, marketing or something else. Those that go an extra mile to show what they can do land interviews.
NB: Everyone can write a good resume but a sample will prove you can actually do the job.

Play Your Cards Right

Being a job seeker you have to think strategically like you would play a game of cards. Let’s be real, you can’t keep applying for different listing and coming up short only to consider yourself out of luck. No! You create your own luck! If you are looking at a potential employment opportunity somewhere, do not just wait on a job board to submit your application.

You should network to find someone who knows a person within the company that can be sent your resume to forward to the recruiter or hiring manager. Referrals have a much better advantage of landing interviews as opposed to non-referrals. Connecting with a person who can put you forward for the position is critical to your job search.

Look at platforms i.e. LinkedIn to help you build a network that will work to your advantage.