I subscribe to a number of Malawian job forums and groups on Facebook. The job market is tight and tight indeed and those who get to land a posting are not only qualified, but in word-blessed. I have come to observe a worrying trend that some of the individuals seeking employment opportunities are, under qualified when you go through their academic background. On top of that, many don’t really seem to understand what they are looking forward to doing- given the opportunity. This has seen an increase in people posting such messages as seen in the following extract:
“I am a man aged 21, single in need of any available job. I am a holder of the MSCE paper. Call on 08*********”
I mean where do I begin even if I had a job to offer?
Now don’t be mistaken- I am not despising those with lesser experience and academic qualifications, but the job market has standards and they have to be maintained if you are going to survive the unforgiving environment of high competition. Now how best do you make a posting that should attract employers even if you have lesser experience and lower or zero academic credentials?
1. Discover your talent and enhance it
See, if I am looking for a garden boy I definitely would want the best. Same with a mechanic, a shop keeper, a cleaner and just about any employee for that matter. We all agree that school isn’t for everyone and in Malawi there is more than just one reason people fail to go through with their education. However, everyone is born with a hidden talent and interests. Take time to find out what you are good at and work very hard to cement those skills and talents. If you are not sure, ask for guidance from more experienced individuals and family members who understand you more. After finding your talent, clearly mention the talent with special emphasis in your postings and job applications.
2. Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy! We live in a world of inter-connectivity and the social network has allowed us to even be at places we have never really set our foot on. My observation of profiles of people who made posts looking for “any” jobs more often than not show that the individuals have academic credentials from top notch universities including Oxford, Harvard, and Cambridge among others. Dreams? We all dream, but one of the reasons we dream in our sleep is that some of this stuff just can’t be real. Let’s be honest, we can count Malawians who have attended such institutions and surely they are not posting their job searches in these forums-even when are actually looking for jobs. Let’s learn to accept the reality, there is no need to boast over such things as academic credentials which can be proven or busted at the click of a button. Tell the world who you are and that will be the first thing for your prospective employer to take into consideration. There are lots of opportunities out there looking for skills and talent you may possess, but you might as well be left out for touting to be what you are not. Additionally do not tell skills you are don’t posses just for the sake of impressing-skills are not hard to prove!
3. How well do you express yourself?
Do not get carried away with what has become acceptable in the social networks and start to think that it’s universally acceptable. What am talking about are things like the way we communicate for example using short hand and internet slang.
Looking for a job is such an important thing and whether or not you are hires doesn’t only on your papers but also your proven ability to communicate which begins in your job application. You can say one powerful statement that can change everything for you and using shorthand simply doesn’t qualify! Use formal language as much as possible. Slang and/or shorthand can be very difficult to comprehend for some old-schools and can just be outright annoying for someone looking for serious people to employ. You can deploy your shorthand and slang expertise elsewhere on the network, but avoid it as much as possible when engaging in formal matters especially with people you are unfamiliar with. Phone numbers / WhatsApp may be the quickest way to communicate, but you should also consider getting yourself a decent email address-it gives a touch of formality when giving out contact information.
***Tip 1: Check your spellings, check your finished statements and consult before posting. I am not saying this will guarantee you a job, but it will definitely maximize your chances.
***Tip 2: Avoid using terms such as “plz/please” -They will not help you get any attention from the employer. Such words make you sound desperate- and no one really wants to hire desperate individuals, people want to hire folks who are PASSIONATE about their job.