By Lilian Wamaitha
“Hi Lilian, I need your help. I graduate in 2016 with a degree in human resource management and up to now I have not been able to land a single job let alone an internship. I have made it my business to visit a lot of job sites every day, applying for jobs and internships that I feel I qualify for. Yet, with all those applications, nobody seems interested in me. Why is it that there hundreds of jobs advertised everyday but getting them is so hard? I mean is there something I’m doing wrong or do these HR people have their own candidates and we are just wasting our time applying?” reads an email from Trizah.
How many jobs have you applied for without hearing back from the employer? How many doors have you knocked at requesting to speak with HR yet none of those has yielded any fruits?
I have had people say that the only way you can land a job in Kenya is if you have a god father looking out for you.
But when you think about it, in as much as jobs are hard to come by, there are still people landing these jobs without relying on god fathers.
What are they doing different?
One of the common myths that a majority of job seekers have is that you have to apply for so many jobs to be shortlisted.
However, according to Ms. Muthoni Ndegwa a recruitment manager at Corporate Staffing Services, quality is what matter when it comes to job applications.
Make an effort to go through the jobs that you want to apply, to see if you really qualify and what you can do to turn the tide in your favor.
“As a recruiter I only have at most 10 seconds to go through your application to determine if you are the right fit for the job,” she says.
Keeping that in mind, here is why therefore with so many jobs posted every day, you are yet to land that job you want;
1. You are applying for jobs without a plan
If you don’t have a job right now, you might feel like applying to every possible job like Trizah, especially those that don’t require much qualification.
What you need to realize is that, this never helps at all. In fact what it does is distract you from going after the jobs you really have a chance with.
“A person who is general in looking for a job is really going to be left behind in today’s job market.”
Instead, identify the job you really want. If it’s a communication job, put your application documents in order, arm yourself with skills necessary for this job and let your application show that you are the right person for the job and do what you have to do to get it.
2. You have not branded yourself for the job
Think of these two people. They graduated the same year with a degree in communication and went on to actively look for jobs. One of them in addition to looking for jobs decided to use the skills they acquired of writing to showcase their expertise in the field in a blog. Their LinkedIn profile is full of activity of articles they have written. The other one on the other hand is so concentrated on applying for jobs to think of a blog or writing an article? In your own opinion, who would you hire?
Personally I would go for this person who goes out of the way to remain relevant even if they do not have a job and I know you would too.
So then, why aren’t you doing something to brand yourself as an expert in your field?
Gone are the days when employers used to hire someone based on their education qualifications. Soft skills matter most and it is how you survive in the job market of today.
A brand is something you create for yourself and what you let the world see.
When you apply for a single position, so have 500 other people. What differentiates you from them? That is the power of personal branding and you don’t have to start a blog for it.
Instead find ways of remaining relevant and practicing what you learnt in school, with or without a job.
3. You always send generic applications
Both your cover letter and CV should be tailored to fit the job you are applying for. Nothing screams lazy like a candidate who uses the same CV and cover letter to apply for all positions.
Use the key words in the job description to write a CV and cover letter that will get you hired. This way you can relate your experience and skills to the role you are applying for.
You may have applied for a HR assistant position last month and then seen a recruitment assistant job today. The CV and cover letter you used then will not be applicable. Why is this?
These are two different employers and if you pay attention to the job description, you will find that what the earlier one was looking for is not the same as the other one even though according to you the roles are somewhat related.
The recruiter will find it easy connecting why you are the most qualified candidate for that particular position if you tailor your application to fit the job they advertised.
Read more here on what it really means to tailor your CV to a job.
4. You are failing to network
We are privileged to live in a world where information is at the click of a button.
The biggest network today for professionals is without doubt a LinkedIn. This site has been useful in connecting people like you with great jobs, other professionals and relevant content.
Additionally, there is the old school way of networking through interpersonal relationships.
The thing you need to know about networking is that it must be purposeful. Therefore attend more professional events related to your field, have a ready CV or volunteer to take part in an event.
You never know – you might just land a job this way and start your career.
It’s you turn
It’s never a guarantee that you will get a response with every job you apply for. However, the mere fact that you applied is worth so much more than just hiding behind the fact that you can’t apply for jobs because you won’t get any. When it comes to job search, things will most of the time not go according to our plan. Most of the time you will get a No when you were expecting a Yes. The most important thing is to understand where opportunities lie and how you can find them and land yourself that dream job.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. Got any comments relating to the article? Share them below. What stood out for you and what are you going to start doing different today?