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Personal Branding for Job Search: Response to Attendees Questions

Updated on Sep 08, 2021 7572 views
Personal Branding for Job Search: Response to Attendees Questions

No doubt, building a personal brand is one way you can stand out from other job seekers.

When people hear the word ‘Branding’ they think about organizations that build their brands to attract customers or investors. That is not the case any longer.

Individuals are taking their personal brand seriously. You can do the same too as a job seeker.

On the 1st of September, we organized an online training on personal branding for job search. It was an eye-opening session because we had an amazing facilitator @michaeladegoke that walked attendees through the basic steps of creating a brand.

These are answers to some of the questions attendees asked during the training.

 

1. Is it necessary to put your pictures in the CV?

There is no direct YES or NO response to this question. Adding your pictures to your CV largely depends on factors like:

  1. The role you are looking to fill.
  2. The company’s policy, etc. 

While adding a photo to your CV can make the CV look good, you should also know that it may be a disadvantage to you. Recruiters scrutinize every aspect of your CV, and that includes the photo you added.

Recruiters are humans, and for no reason, someone can see your picture and quickly judge you wrongly. Appearance matters a lot. If it is a role that your appearance would play a huge role (roles like modelling, ushering, etc.) then adding a photo to your CV can help you sell yourself better.

If you are a bit confused about whether or not to include a photo in your CV, then we advise that you don’t add a picture to be on the safe side.

The truth is; if a company considers your appearance as a criterion for the role, they will ask you to send a picture. Many times recruiters find out more information about candidates on social media platforms, so if they need to see you they can do that there.

If you must include a picture for any reason, you should:

  1. Dress according to the role and company.
  2. Consider hiring a professional photographer.
  3. Make the picture match with your LinkedIn photo.

 

2. How do we know the problems the company may be encountering?

Even if a company will not come out to state its challenges for the world to see, you can still figure out the challenges or weak points of a company.

When you discover a company that interests you, the next smart thing for you to do is to FOLLOW this company. When I say follow the company, I mean:

  1. Visit their website and find out everything you need to know about them.
  2. Subscribe to their newsletter (you may not get all the information you need on their website) to know about their products and services better.
  3. Follow them on social media to have an insider feel about working in the company.
  4. Look for their employees on social media and follow them.
  5. Attend their event (online or physical events)

If you follow the steps above, you would realize that you have enough information about the company. With the information that you have, it will be easy for you to tell the company’s weak and strong points.

Once you have the solution to the company’s weak point, then you can go ahead to ‘shoot your shot’ (Lol).

 

3. Is it always necessary to add age while writing a CV?

It depends on the role and the organization. For some roles, the company may set a particular age limit in the job description. If you are within the age range, then adding your age to your CV can be an advantage.

On the other hand, if age is not a criterion you do not necessarily need to add your age to your CV (especially if you are not so young). If you are well above thirty or even in your early forties, adding your age to your CV may be a disadvantage (except it is required).

 

4. Can 10 year-experienced candidate get a 3-5 years role, if he meets the other requirements?

While that is very possible, some employers do not like to hire overqualified job candidates because they believe that the candidate will start asking for a raise, promotion, etc. as soon as they get in.

Other employers believe that overqualified job candidates come in with some sense of entitlement that the company may not be able to provide. Some overqualified job candidates may be difficult to manage especially by less experienced superiors.

If you have a general 10 years working experience, and a specific 3-5 years working experience in that role, then you can get the job.

 

5. When you are applying for a position apart from attaching your CV and cover letter what should be in the body of the email?

If you are attaching your CV and cover letter while sending your application via email, then it is good you let the receiver (recruiter, HR Manager, etc.) know that you attached a file.

Never send a blank email simply because you attached a file!

Even if the CV and cover letter have all the information that the recruiter needs to know about you, you should still write a simple message in the body of the email to let the recruiter know that you have attached your cover letter.

Your simple, short message can be something like this:

Dear Ms Jane,

Please see my attached CV and cover letter for the (job title) position.

Let me know if you would like any more information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Samuel Jackson

 

6. How can I add value to myself as an accountant?

Even if you are in a more professional job field like accounting, you still add value to yourself. Even if some people think that the accounting field is already going on extinction, you can still add value to yourself as an accountant.

These practical steps can help you add value to yourself:

  1. Educate yourself by taking online courses and tutorials.
  2. Start networking with people in your industry.
  3. Evaluate financial information. (you can search for information on newspapers, company updates, et).
  4. Learn accounting software’s (some companies want to hire accountants that can use accounting software).

The basic way you can add value to yourself is to constantly learn and be in the loop of accounting practices.

 

7. We are always told to address our cover letter to a specific person in the organization. often they don't give the name of any recipient. And they don't even reply if you now request. What do we do?

If you cannot find the name of the hiring manager of the company after reaching out, you can try the following methods:

  1. Check the company’s website.
  2. Check LinkedIn to find the positions of employees in the company.
  3. You can also do a quick and simple google check to find out the name of the hiring manager.

If you have done all of the following, and you are still not able to find the name of the hiring manager, you can consider addressing the cover letter to an unknown person.

You can address an unknown hiring manager with the following titles:

Dear Sir/Madam

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Human Resources Director

Dear Hiring Manager

 

8. Please how can I identify my weaknesses and strengths?

Before you take any external steps to find your strengths and weaknesses, I will recommend that you spend at least one (1) hour and create two simple lists.

  1. The first list should include the skills that you need to thrive in your job field.
  2. The second list should include the skills that you have already.

Once you have a list of skills or things that you need to thrive in your career, highlight or put a star on the skills that you have already.

When you are done with the two lists, you would notice that you have already identified your strengths and weaknesses in your field.

If you need more clarity, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What have others complimented me about?
  • What have others had to help me with on more than one occasion?
  • Which projects and tasks seem to drain my energy?
  • Which projects have I spent hours on without getting tired?
  • What are my hobbies, and why do I like doing them?

 

9. Does an individual have to always prepare different CVs to suit different jobs?

It is good for you to tailor your CV to the job that you are applying for and the job description, but tailoring your CV does not necessarily mean creating a different CV.

For example, if you are a customer service executive, of course, there are basic customer service information that would be on your CV, but you will have to change some information when applying for a role.

The truth is that every role is different in every company. Once you are interested in a job advert, study the job description to understand what the employer wants and see how your CV can reflect that.

 

10. What do you do when all the alert you get is very far from your location and as a married woman you can't relocate easily to such area, and also the ones close by is not the kind of skill you possess and the pay is nothing to write home about?

We understand that having a family can come with some restrictions. Location is a vital aspect to consider when making a career decision as a married person.

In this case, we advise that you consider searching and applying for remote jobs. Remote jobs allow you to work from your preferred location (whether your house or a co-working space).

Remote jobs will also make it less challenging for you to achieve work/life balance. You can check out these remote jobs opportunities.

 

11. How can one write a good application letter for an NGO job and be invited for an interview?

While a non-profit is different from a for-profit organization, writing an application letter for a non-profit organization is easy.

You can follow these simple steps to get started:

  • State the position you're applying for and how you found out about it.
  • Show your passion for the organization's work.
  • Show your interest in the nonprofit's cause or a specific project.
  • Talk about your skills and experience related to the nonprofit's work.
  • Mention your connections/experiences to the nonprofit's type of work.
  • Close with a follow-up or call to action. (… can we schedule a meeting to discuss the opportunity more?).

See how you can land NGO jobs here.

 

12. At what point do we follow up with HRs for status updates after the interview?

We advise that you follow up with the hiring manager after 5 working days if you haven’t heard back from the HR Manager or employer.

If the employer provides an expected date for feedback after the interview, follow up one business day after that date has passed. For example, if the employer is supposed to get back on a Friday, it means that you have to wait until Monday be sending a follow-up message.

 

13. In a situation whereby the recruiter request you attach your cover letter and cv, is it mandatory that the body of the letter must be the same cover letter you have already attached?

You don’t have to copy the content on your CV or cover and put it in the body of the email if you are required to attach your CV and cover.

You can simply attach your CV and cover letter and few sentences to let the hiring manager or employer know that you attached your files.

See the sample below:

Dear Ms Jane,

Please see my attached CV and cover letter for the (job title) position.

Let me know if you would like any more information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Samuel Jackson

 

14. What's the preferred CV format, pdf or .doc?

Even if some people prefer to use Adobe Pdf file formats, Txt files or word documents. We recommend that you use Word document (.doc or .docx) ·

This is because a Word document is the standard and most popular format for most CVs. · All applicant tracking systems can read Word documents. Word documents are versatile and allow for easy use and customization.

 

15. Is it wise to apply for different positions in the same organization when they all meet your qualifications?

While that strategy may appear to be a smart one, it is equally risky. This is why:

  1. It can pass the wrong message to the recruiter. It can make the hiring manager think that you are yet to discover your career path.
  2. It makes the employer perceive that you are too desperate to get a job, any jo Employers want job candidates that are intentional about what they want and are ready to add value and not just job candidates that need a job.

Instead of applying for different positions in the same organization, we advise that you look at the positions in the organization and select the one that best fits your skills and abilities.

 

16. Does an employer always visit an interviewee's LinkedIn page to confirm if his/her resume rhymes with the experiences he/she has on his/her LinkedIn page?

Although not every employer will go to LinkedIn to search for job candidates, we advise you to keep your profile clean and up-to-date.

Asides from checking if a job candidate experiences on their CV match with their LinkedIn profiles, employers check LinkedIn to understand a job candidate’s career history and career ideologies.

Employers don’t only look for skilled candidates, they also look out for candidates that will fit into their company’s culture.  

 

17. As a fresh graduate applying for a graduate trainee position, and the company asked for one year experience and you have like 3 years experience, should we reduce the experience on your cv/resume to meet their requirements?

We understand that desperate times can make you take extreme decisions, but no matter to pressure you feel to get a job soon, you should never lie.

We recommend that you always say the truth because you never know what the hiring manager wants. You might reduce your years of experience, and then put yourself in a disadvantaged position.

If you feel like you are the best fit for the job, then just apply for it truthfully.

 

18. How can I get a job with little experience in a particular field? I am presently training in UI/UX Design. I would love to get an internship job on that please how do I go about it?

Even if people believe that it is easier to get an internship role compared to full-time roles, you still need to understand some basic things to get an internship role.

These days, employers look for interns that at least have some understanding of the role and a bit of job experience even if not so much.

To get an internship role, you have to build your knowledge base in your preferred role by taking courses and doing free jobs to build your experience.

You can read this article to see practical steps on how some interns in Nigeria landed a good internship opportunity with little or no experience.

 

19. I have been applying for a job for the past 5 months. What might I not be doing well? I have a good CV. I am confused. I need help and direction.

When it comes to landing a job early, there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Having a good CV does not guarantee that you land a job soon, even if it is a step ahead.

You need to consider the following:

Apply for only jobs that best fit your skills and abilities. Make sure you feel like the job description describes you (at least to a good extent 80%).

Stop applying for every general role. Apply for a few jobs and be intentional about your application. (how to apply for fewer jobs and land more interviews)

Send your cover letter alongside your CV.

Since you have put in the effort to land a job soon, you might need to slow down a little bit to make more strategic and intentional steps.

 

We hope you have learned a lot from the responses to the questions? 

In case you missed MyJobMag training on Personal Branding for Job Search, you don’t need to worry. You can join the WhatsApp group by clicking on this link https://chat.whatsapp.com/DGEWdyVFfwf5LwMPhopOZG

Do well to send us a ‘HI’ as soon as you join the group. We look forward to being a part of your career journey. We will share some materials shared during the training to help you catch up fast.

You will also get updates on the next FREE training sessions. 

 

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