The year is still young, and you may still want to change your current job for a different challenge.
You could also be looking for your first gig altogether.
With limited opportunities in the job market, outstripped by the number of active job seekers, employers are going for the top talent available.
But having the right mix of competencies alone will not get you your dream job. As seasoned HR experts tell us, your job search tools could make the difference.
Utilising smart and dynamic hacks in your job search boosts your odds while relying on traditional resources, used by every job seeker, limits your chances.
In an age when artificial intelligence is used in the recruitment process, you must be on top of your game to stand a chance. Get your note book out.
“Offering your services for free enables you to perfect your skills and enhance your professional visibility.”
Oduor Nguka is a career advisor. PHOTO| SALATON NJAU
Job opportunities are hard to come by these days. Do not be too fussy about what you want to do. Be open-minded and ready to explore any available opportunities. To widen your scope of competencies and to have an upper hand in your job search, gather as much knowledge in as many areas as you can. A media professional, for instance, should navigate the world of corporate communication with considerable ease. Keep tabs on current trends in your profession and other related careers.
Volunteer work is becoming a popular gateway to permanent employment within most institutions. Offering your services for free enables you to perfect your skills and enhance your professional visibility. Few organisations will trust you to deliver without tangible proof of what you can do. And what a better way to prove your case than working as a volunteer?
At the end of each of your professional engagements, demand a recommendation, preferably on LinkedIn. Even after volunteering at a company.
Never leave without recommendation. Your word is as good as that, but having a credible referee always helps.
Being specific on what you want to do makes your job search less strenuous.
It is also easier to convince potential employers when you are able to express your career goals more clearly.
Remember you will be hired only if you can add value to an organisation. Be aware of your strengths and highlight these.
“A résumé is an old school way of looking for a job.”
Jeff Nthiwa is a career coach. PHOTO| COURTESY
Do not underestimate the power of social media. Serious professionals have got their career breakthrough on social media.
Make your Facebook page professional. Brand it appropriately by posting features that relate to your profession.
Besides sharing humorous posts, share serious content about your career too. Share your value, skills, experiences and passions.
Ask your friends to re-share your posts. More than in any other time in history, these days, people are being hired for the value they add to organisations than for the content of their résumés.
Rather than sending your impersonal CV to 20 different organisations, why not share your capabilities on social media instead? A résumé is an old school way of looking for a job.
Avoid advertising your needs on social media. When you share content, share from a perspective of value, not need.
Neediness is creepiness. It repels people who might want to help you.
No one will care to read your profile no matter how well it is presented if you come across as needy.
Be deliberate about who you add on your social media circle. See your friends as a pond from which you can fish for value.
It is meaningless to have 3,000 followers on social media if none among them can help you to advance your job search.
As you search for a job, be authentic and present an honest version of yourself. Recruiters know how to detect and destroy deception. It is easier to build and maintain a true image than to keep up with a misleading brand.
You could use social media to build your personality in reality.
Do not just have a dormant profile on LinkedIn. This networking platform offers you a free blog where you can post content relevant to your profession.
Utilise this to the maximum. Build your account in a way that makes it easy for you to be found. Brand yourself by listing your skills and indicate that you are open for a job.
If need be, have an account on YouTube and share your story through videos. Some skills are best demonstrated through doing. If you are a graduate engineer with a prototype, for instance, YouTube should be close to your heart. Who will believe that you actually went to that university? Who knows that you possess a certain skill-set? People are only able to believe this if there is proof.
Additionally, synchronise your online presence such that your personality on LinkedIn is supported by what you portray on Twitter and other online sites. Inconsistencies only serve to cause doubts about you.
As you step up your job search this year, remember to maximise your use of social media. Find out who is looking for what skills and apply for the job if you meet the requirements.
Social media is free and accessible on your smartphone.
Head of Human Resources, Copy Cat Limited
“An up-to-date LinkedIn profile is an important job search tool as a strong résumé.”
How does your online profile look like? Is there anything that could potentially jeopardise your job search? As a smart job seeker, search your name on Google and see what results appear.
If you find content that concerns you, make an effort to have it removed.
Cleaning up digital dirt associated with your name helps you to maintain a digital footprint that is recruiter-ready.
While it may appear virtually harmless, it matters a lot who has access to your online profile. This year, double-check your privacy settings on social media.
Only people very close to you should have access to intimate information about you on Facebook, for instance.
Photos that you post on social media might seem innocent until they ruin your chance of clinching your dream job –usually when you least expect it.
An up-to-date LinkedIn profile is an important job search tool as a strong résumé.
Today, head-hunters contact candidates on LinkedIn long before they post a job opening.
A strong LinkedIn profile not only acts as a résumé and a networking site, but also as a personal branding resource.
When someone searches your name online, your LinkedIn profile appears as the first or second result, making LinkedIn a powerful tool. Clients, competitors, associates and potential employers will always search you online.
LinkedIn is also a more efficient way to manage your networks. Already, some employers are relying on professionals’ visibility on LinkedIn to determine their suitability.
It is easy to dismiss job alerts on email and through text messages. Sign up for these automatic alerts, you never know when a suitable opportunity will come your way.
This way, you will be the first to know when new jobs arise.
To activate alerts, visit your favourite job boards such as Corporate Staffing, My Jobs in Kenya or Brighter Monday and create alerts for selected job titles and companies you would like to work for.
If you are still in university, career fairs give you the first real opportunity to interact with players in the job market.
You get to know what areas of business exist, what skills are required and what values these businesses stand for.
From success stories of different professionals, you get the inspiration to do better. Besides, some of the firms you get to interact with have management trainee or internships programmes that you can apply for.
Don’t allow your résumé to gather dust somewhere in a folder. This is so especially when you have an ongoing job.
With the turbulent professional and business world, you never know what tomorrow holds. You may be engaged today only to be out of work tomorrow.
By keeping your résumé up to date, you are able to respond to opportunities that come up in a timely manner.
Updating a CV is not an easy task as most job seekers assume.
It requires time and concentration. Your résumé changes every day as long as you remain actively engaged in your profession.
Professional recruiting firms such as Corporate Staffing can help you to write a solid résumé based on your competencies and experience. Update your CV at least once every year.
Senior Human Resources Manager, Judiciary
“Research for the keywords that employers are looking for and incorporate them in your CV.”
It is one thing to build contacts and another to utilise these networks.
People in your circle know you and what opportunities you are looking for.
They will help you with either relevant information, or recommend you to potential employers.
Actively engage your networks this year because more and more organisations are relying on referrals to fill vacant positions within them.
Network in person and online. Network in all settings, including informal places, such as in church and at the gym.
Making an introduction that gives a strong impression about oneself is a challenge for most millennials.
Be purposeful when introducing yourself. Start making it clear that you are searching for a job and that you would wish your contact person to help out.
You may want to start practicing your introductory statement.
Organisations are using smart recruitment tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days to shortlist candidates for job openings.
AI is used to scan for certain words in CVs before they are looked at by human beings. Research for the keywords that employers are looking for and incorporate them in your CV.
To be considered, you must be smarter. You will continue to be jobless as long as your résumé lacks these words.
To enhance your application, start polishing your skills and writing down success stories that demonstrate what you did for your previous employers.
Today’s recruiter is hard to please and very keen on a candidate’s past achievements.
Your technical or interpersonal skills may be top-notch, but nothing beats a success story, which comes in handy during an interview.
Be bold enough to apply for jobs even if you are not a perfect match. In most cases, the technical aspects of a job are learnt on the job and most employers facilitate this through induction and on-boarding programmes.
What matters most is a good mix of the right attitude, a strong understanding of the business of the organisation and the role of that position in delivering the organisation’s goals.
Many candidates fail during interviews by demonstrating ignorance about the organisation they hope to work for. It is embarrassing to lose an opportunity simply because you failed to do your homework.
Once you are shortlisted for an interview, take your time to research on the company to understand its core mandate, values, vision and mission.
Having prior knowledge of the organisation gives you the confidence to articulate yourself more candidly and makes your case even stronger.
The labour market is experiencing tremendous changes. Flexible and non-standard employment arrangements are popular and fast replacing the traditional full-time jobs, to the delight of many millennials.
To survive, be flexible and agile.
Do not dismiss freelancing, sub-contracting, homeworking and flexi-time opportunities where pay is determined by results, rather than the number of hours clocked.
There is a widespread and erroneous notion among most job seekers today that only online job applications matter.
There may be companies that accept only digital job applications but many more companies both online and offline applications.
Do not limit your job search to online applications.
To increase your visibility, apply offline too. Your résumé may land on just about the right desk.
Reach out directly to companies that you would like to work for. Get in touch with people who work in these companies who can share valuable information about the company with you.
This information will be useful as you market yourself to your potential employer.
Do not be too carried away perfecting your résumé. Unless your potential employer is a very small enterprise, your CV stands a very thin chance of being seen. Focus instead on boosting your online presence and presentations and review these regularly.
Utilise platforms such as LinkedIn to share your talents and previous projects. This way, you will grow your visibility.
Do not treat your résumé as a one-size-fits-all tool for job searching.
Instead of sending a general CV for every chance, tailor it for each opportunity and give prominence to the competencies and experience that suit the specific job opening.
As a job seeker, it helps to reflect on exactly the kind of job you are looking for.
If, for instance, you already have one, what are the reasons compelling you to look for another job?
Are you looking for a new title, a bigger challenge, more money, greater satisfaction?
If it is a new job, narrow down your expectations to the organisations you wish to pursue, research and keep focused.
Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]
“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank. The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain.
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone
Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.
Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.
ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.
Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.
Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.
A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.
Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.
The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.
Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.
“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.
In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.
“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.
“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”
The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.
Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.
The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.
They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.
The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.
Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.
As part of aggressive campaigns for his presidential bid, the DP, who views the former Prime Minister as his main challenger in the 2022 polls, will begin his tour in Migori and Kisumu in the third week of July, and thereafter Homa Bay and Siaya in the last week.
The DP has rolled out a ground operation that includes United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party and aspirants’ regional forums, regional economic forums, allowing affiliate political parties to sprout without the demand that they merge with UDA and assembling a wide array of professionals to front his presidential bid.
In a politically changed environment unlike the one in 2017 when he was an influential voice in government and the chief campaigner, DP Ruto now finds himself technically being the head of the opposition after the acrimonious fall-out with the President.
The relationship has worsened further after President Kenyatta’s truce with the ODM leader, his main challenger in the 2017 disputed presidential vote, thus alienating the DP further.
His allies say he’s building the infrastructure that will help him win decisively in the first round in next year’s presidential election.
Leading the preparations for the DP’s Nyanza tour is Mr Odinga’s former aide, management consultant and strategist Eliud Owalo, who is also the convener of the Luo-Nyanza Economic Caucus.
Yesterday, he said the DP will start his Nyanza tour in mid-July for what he termed an intensive grassroots tour aimed at campaigning for his presidential bid.
“The leader of the Hustler movement, Deputy President William Ruto, will make an intensive grassroots tour of the four Luo-Nyanza counties within the second half of the month of July.
In the two-legged tour, he will first visit Migori and Kisumu counties in the third week of July 2021 followed closely by a tour of Homa Bay and Siaya in the fourth week of July 2021,” read a statement sent to newsroom, which Mr Owalo signed.
Apart from the meet the people tour, the DP is expected to attend church services as well as continue with his economic empowerment programmes for youth and women groups.
The DP is expected to use the tour in his political opponent’s backyard to popularise his bottom-up economic model.
The region has always voted overwhelmingly for the ODM chief in the past elections.
“We want the Luo Nyanza region to lay its stake in any future governance dispensation on the basis of a responsive and feasible development agenda for our people as opposed to positions that individual members of the community will be holding in that government,” Mr Owalo said.
The DP started courting the region last year when Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi hosted more than 100 youths from Nyanza under the umbrella of “Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022” led by Mr Stephen Midenyo aka Mada and 2013 Rangwe Parliamentary candidate Everest Okambo.
A year ago, as part of a broader plot targeting the region, Mr Sudi and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro made a discreet visit to Bondo and Kisumu counties in what they described as “private functions” but which had a strong political inclination.
A week ago, Migori governor Okoth Obado, who is viewed as a rebel in the region, was hosted by Mr David Ruto, the DP’s brother.
The plan, Mr Sudi says, is to target the youth, women’s groups and the church to reach out to the Nyanza populace and lure a significant number of voters to join DP Ruto’s bandwagon.
“We’re reaching out to the whole country because the hustler movement is not confined to a certain region,” Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono told the Nation.
A meeting convened by Mr Owalo at a Nairobi hotel in mid-May had many former foot soldiers of Mr Odinga attending. They include those who decamped after losing ODM nominations in 2013 and 2017 elections, among them former Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo.
Also in attendance was Citizen’s Convention Party (CCP) leader Grace Akumu.
UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina told the Nation that in their recruitment drive, Nyanza is not left out. The party’s clerks, she said, are stationed in the region.
Won’t bear fruit
Mr Odinga’s troops led by Suba South MP John Mbadi have been on record saying that such meetings won’t bear fruits for the DP.
Mr Mbadi said the DP needs to understand why people of Nyanza associate with ODM and believe in Mr Odinga. The DP is also said to be making inroads in Mr Odinga’s other support bases of Western and Coast.