By Mariam Kigongo
We all have had of some few experiences that are more humbling and for sure sometimes frustrating than reducing your life’s work and experience to the few pieces of paper that every applicant knows as a cover letter and resume. Despite the fact that we spend so much time perfecting these documents yet, it all boils down to whom you are handing them to. For a fact, the person making the hiring decision takes only 15 seconds on average to know whether to say “yes”, “maybe” or “no”. While presenting yourself through a resume and cover letter is a tough challenge we all have to face, there are several useful tactics that could genuinely make you, and your potential value to the organization, stand out.
Whenever you seat down to prepare a cover letter and resume, always take a moment to get inside the head of the person doing the first screening. These are ultimately the only three things an employer asks during those crucial seconds of analysis, that everyone should take note of and follow: -
1. Can you do the job?
Don’t expect employers to figure out how your past experiences can be applicable to the position in question. All bullet points on your resume should explain and demonstrate what you could do if you were hired. For instance, you may know that your Graphic design work can have some few aspects of marketing and communication or administration where you can apply these skills into these jobs. It’s useful to explain further so the employer can get a good understanding where to place you. Spell out how all your experience can directly relate to the job for which you’re applying for in regards to the job description.
You should always remember that your resume isn’t merely a way to show what you have accomplished in the past, but it also can be one of your best tools to demonstrate what you could accomplish for each organization. There are so many ways to improve your resume, some of which are among everjobs job journals. These are very helpful in guiding one to write the perfect resume and cover letter. All one has to do is sign up to www.everjobs.ug create an account and look through the job journals for guidance.
2. Will you manage to do the job?
“This simply means are you committed to the mission and issue of the organization? Have you already demonstrated the work ethic necessary to succeed in this specific line of work?
I have seen so many candidates coming to the everjobs Uganda office very dedicated and committed to finding a job. They wake up early and come to the everjobs Uganda team for guidance. We see their drive and commitment, and as a team, we are always ready to assist. Be committed to all that you do, whether it’s for looking for a job or work ethic.
3. Will you be able to fit in?
“Can you relate in terms of speaking the language of the organization or company? Do you exhibit enthusiasm for this particular job at any agency? Does your sense of humor resonate with the prospective workplace?”
These are all aspects employers want to know to see that you will feel comfortable working in the organization and that you can relate with your colleagues. Your ability to fit in with any organization’s culture is not something you have a lot of control over. Some people can relate it to dating; you and your date either have chemistry or you don’t. Hellen Nakyeyune, the Business Growth Manager of everjobs Uganda, says, “It’s all about having the right attitude for every interview you go for. If you are not confident, you lower your chances to make a good impression for the employer to hire you.”
4. Lastly, most important key points to keep in mind;
Never lose hope after an interview. Be patient, don’t keep idol, and always apply to other different jobs to keep busy. This maintains your levels of enthusiasm and also raises your chances of finding employment. During the CV workshop last year in December 17th 2015, we invited the HR managers of Picfare, East African Business Week and Jovago to address the applicants on what to consider when going for an interview. We also held interviews where applicants got a chance to interact with the HR bosses of these three companies, and also attained certificates for participating in the CV workshop.
Patrick Kabayo, the Business Growth Manager of everjobs Uganda says, “84% of hiring managers at non-profit organizations have responsibilities in at least one other area, most often in program management, communications, or even in office management.” He adds, “ Lack of time is one of the biggest reason why they say it can take a while to get back to you. For this reason, it is always to good to leave a thank you email or note, expressing your appreciation of their time taken to interview you. This not only depicts good ethical behavior on your part, but also leaves them with a good impression about you.”
Hellen adds, “Don’t call them constantly, they’ll call you. Also because of their limited time and resources, 40% of hiring managers prefer that you follow up about your job application status. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that 60% like it! Just a few say they don’t, so its always best to send out a thank you email and be patient as you look somewhere else, keeping your options open.”
Every Job interview you go for, always show your passion about the job. Convince the hiring manager to see your strive and ambition about the company and also tell them about other skills you may possess that could be useful for the company as well.
Always keep in mind that your cover letter and resume are meant to attract hiring managers’ attention and lure them to invite you for an interview. Make these applications convincing and true so the hiring managers would not only be interested in where you went to school, but also in the achievements or qualifications you may have that he / she would like to know more about.