A hiring manager shares job search secrets
The task of searching for a dream job would be easier if as a candidate, you had a better understanding of what you are passionate about, the types of jobs to search for as well as the things hiring managers look out for when assessing candidates.
This explains why only 2% of applicants actually get interviews. In this article, I (Katie Kapro, a hiring manager and writer) will share insights from my personal experiences as well as secrets of getting a job. I will also share things you should remember when searching for a job as it concerns the potential it holds for futuristic jobs for Nigerians around the world.
How do you decide what career path to pursue?
According to a LinkedIn survey of 8,000 professionals, ‘30% of global workers say they earn a living from their childhood dream job or a related field.’ That’s by no means the majority but it is certainly noteworthy. Perhaps, candidates can learn something from their child-selves.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I imagined myself tromping through the desert landscape of Mars, clad in a polymer spacesuit and aerodynamic space helmet, taking samples of the soil and musing on the future of humankind. As I grew older, the dream shifted but my ability to imagine a picture of my ideal future stayed intact.
Space exploration opens doors beyond oneself and lets us see a future beyond the daily grind. That is one of the reasons it is so great that Nigeria has announced itself as a major player in the space game. NASRDA, the National Space Research and Development Agency, has launched five satellites into space since 2003, and just announced its intention to send an astronaut into space by 2030. It will be the first African country to do so.
What does this mean for job seekers?
Two things. First, it means that jobs in science and technology will be more readily available, especially for upcoming generations interested in working outside Nigeria. Secondly, it’s an avenue for understanding and channelling one’s job-seeking ambition. We all cannot be astronauts but we can all reach for jobs in similar fields. It should not come as a surprise that you think about careers related to space science, astronauts are the first set of professionals astronauts are the come to your mind.
However, they constitute only a minority number of space science professionals. There are opportunities for several other careers and fields in space science and they include:
- Communications Technicians
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operators
- Laser Technicians
- Quality Assurance Specialists
- Radar Technicians
- Robotic Technicians
- Satellite Technologists
- Medical Doctors
- Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineers
- Avionics & Instrumentation Engineers
- Computer Engineers
- Materials Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Robotics Engineers
- Spacecraft Engineers
- Telecommunications Engineers
Is your experience all that matters when job hunting?
Understanding and focusing your ambition will get you far in the job-seeking world. It’s all about defining your career goals and being strategic about the application process. Next is being strategic about knowing how to present your experience in a manner that will get you in the door.
In Fola Daniel Adelesi’s talk on employability, he notes that many job seekers in Nigeria face the frustrating situation of being ‘overqualified’ for positions they have applied for. They turn in CVs heavy with all their work and study experience and never get a callback because the employer sees them as too much of a risk.
However, even widely experienced applicants can tweak their CVs to meet the specific requirements of the job. This can be achieved and is what job seekers should strive to achieve. When you apply for a job, ensure the CV fits the requirements of that particular job.
Start by finding a way to frame your experience in a way that makes it relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you ran an ice cream stand, note management experience, for example. If some of your work experience is not relevant, leave it out. You are not compelled to cram it all into your resume. A CV is just a first impression. It should be no more than a single page. If you want to woo your prospective employer with your knowledge, do it in person during the interview.
However, keep it in mind that most jobs want candidates they can train. Showing off too much might put you out of the running.
Do you take things for granted?
The fact that you are still searching for a job does not mean that you cannot draw up a plan of how you intend to spend your earnings when you eventually get the job.
An important aspect of choosing a career and starting down the path to landing your dream job is to be sure to budget for happiness. What this means is to reflect on how you save and spend my money while optimising for happiness.
Career ambition is valuable and the same applies to your life outside work but either one can get out of control when not balanced with the rest of life. Logan Eldridge defines seven ways to budget for happiness as setting aside money for expenses so it’s not a huge stress later, to making time for creative growth.
Do you think about the big picture?
This brings us to our final point. As a job seeker, always look at the big picture. Just as a space program expands your ideas of self and the universe, landing a job requires an applicant to think beyond the self. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. How would you respond if you have set an appointment to interview a candidate and that person shows up late? You would probably pass them over for the job. Keep this in mind throughout the application and interview process.
When I was a hiring manager, the candidates I responded to best were the ones who respected my time, kept their CVs clear and brief, kept appointments, and replied promptly to communications. It said a lot about the kind of employee they would be. In essence, equip yourself with the right gear and as the job market continues to evolve, you will be in for a bigger adventure than you ever imagined.
What else do you think candidates should keep in mind as they go job hunting? Kindly let us know in your comment below.