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. 

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!

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/

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 

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.

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!