Many young women in Uganda are looking for opportunities of employment, support and mentoring. Right after graduation resumes start flying around and many have found their way to my desk. Some young women have been introduced to me by friends, mothers, relatives and some have been stories I have read on social media groups that I am part of. I would like to speak to some women that fall in the Unemployed, no income generating activity category.
Dear Young woman,
You should stop and I seriously mean stop using your situation as a conversation starter when looking for a job. No employer will hire you because of your situation but your skill. Here is what I mean, I have had many conversations with people looking for jobs and some start their conversations like this;
“My name is Sumaya ( Not real name), I am an orphan, my father died in 2000 and I struggled through school, I was mistreated at home and moved out into my own rented room. I managed to complete school but now lack rent. I am looking for a job at your organization. ”
Now, while I sympathize with your situation, it will not motivate me or any other person in business to offer you a job. Not even a NGO. When you start a conversation like Sumaya, what you are telling the potential employer is that you are coming to work with baggage and feel sorry for me kind of attitude. Instead, I would rather you start the conversation like this;
“My name is Sumaya, I have a diploma, bachelors( whatever qualification you have), My skill set is in xxxx and I can do xxxxxxxxx, my experience with xxxx has been xxxx, here is my CV and academic docs, this is a project I have been working on as I try to find employment.”
Potential Employer: “What can you do? or what job are you applying for in this company or what do you see yourself doing in this organization?”
STOP saying that you can do anything, when asked this question. Anything is not a job title. I would expect you to research about the organization that you are applying to, even if they do not have any positions advertised that time, take a look at the different departments, offices they have and place yourself, say its a training organization and you have a degree in software engineering, instead of saying you can do anything they ask you to, I would rather you be specific and talk about your skill and at the end of your sentence add but I am very flexible and would be open to starting at xxxxxxxx.
STOP sending generalized CVs, tailor your CV to what you are applying for, tweak it to the organization you are applying to. Be honest and do not lie so you have an appealing CV, but do not generalize. If you are applying to a software development consultancy for a technical position, in the work experience section, you may want to put experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. You do not want start with your job as a shop keeper, talking about the projects you undertook while at school, your graduation project/dissertation would be a good start if you do not have any relevant experience. If you have been building your own apps, web dev projects, talk about them. When asked about your interests during this interview, do not tell the employer how software development is not your thing or interest when you are applying for a software developer position!!!!!!! Keep that bit to yourself.
Regardless of what situation you are in on a personal level, do not let it show on your professional radar.
Until next time……..