Category Archives: CAREER CHAT

The Keyword Approach To A CV & Cover Letter

Staff Writer | @campusmoments13
4 minute read

In a keyword search of resumes and cover letters, employers identify, either electronically or manually, important words or phrases related to the job description. Candidates will then be selected for further review based on the number and/or level of matches found in the search.

According to Registered Organisational Psychologist & Career Coach, Phiona Martin, “Most companies are using (Applicant Tracking Systems)ATS and if you are making online applications, you can no longer ignore the requirement for your CV to be ATS “friendly.”

To develop a keyword resume and cover letter, study the job description carefully, identifying important words/phrases from both the responsibilities and qualifications of the job (highlighted in red for demonstration purposes only). Incorporate these words and phrases into your resume and cover letter using your background and experiences.

Sample Cover Letter

career chat cover lettr.png
Incorporate words and phrases directly from the job description that pertain to your skills and experience (shown in red for demonstration purposes only. Do not use red in your resume or letter)

Phiona Martin recommends the following seven ways to ensure your CV is ATS attractive and actually lands in a human recruiters hands.

  1. Mirror the Job Description wording in your CV, including the tense it is written e.g if job description says “management of suppliers” change if your CV says “managing vendors and contractors”. This requires customising your CV for every job. NB:  Do NOT copy and paste job description word-for-word you may be penalised by ATS or recruiter.
  2. Nail those keywords. There is lingo in every profession/industry. It maybe software, skills, certifications, licenses, responsibilities, or  procedures. The words that matter in your profession need to be included in your CV/Resume. Use both acronyms and spelled out form of titles.
  3. Repeat important keywords related to your skills a few times in your CV. Do NOT merely stuff as many key words as possible as the new scanners pick up this tactic. It will also be a turn-off to the recruiter who actually reads the CV if your CV does get past the scanner process.  A recommended suggestion is using a keyword two to three times per CV, taking into account that it is coherently placed.
  4. Make use of free cloud services like Wordle and TagCrowd to help you determine the right keywords to use in your CV. Just copy and paste the job description into the generators and the software will tell you which keywords are important to include in your CV.
  5. Only use text. Don’t use graphics, logos, or tables in your CV as fancy graphics, images, tables, and logos confuse the ATS. Anything placed in header and footer areas is invisible to the ATS, do not put important information in these sections.
  6. Headings. Put in straight forward traditional headings such as; Work Experience, Education, Qualifications, Experience, Hobbies, and References and avoid creative titles as they may not be recognised by the ATS
  7. Job Titles. Pay attention to the job title in the advert. E.g. if you are a Finance Manager, but the job title is for an Accounting Manager, be sure that you include “Accounting Manager” somewhere in your CV.

Sample CV

career chat 2.png
Incorporate words and phrases directly from the job description that pertain to your skills and experience (shown in red for demonstration purposes only. Do not use red in your resume or letter)
Get more from the #CareerCoach at http://www.phionamartin.com/blog. Sample CV & Cover Letter adapted from unl.edu/careers

 

Advertisements

4 study skills that will help you succeed in your career

Erica Cirino
2 minute read

If you’re like most college students, much of your time outside of class is spent studying. Studying is an important part of college, one that goes beyond just helping to get you good grades. It’s a part of your academic routine that—whether you realize it or not — prepares you for a career as well.

Here are four study skills in particular that can carry over into your career:

1. MANAGING YOUR TIME

Figuring out how long it will take you to complete an assignment or review for an exam isn’t an exact science. Every student is different, so each student requires a different amount of time for studying. Over time, you’ll figure out how to best manage your time.

Good time management means you get your assignments done on time (or well ahead of time), but it also means you pace yourself appropriately so that you’re producing the highest quality of work possible. Knowing how to keep and follow a calendar is another important part of time management.

Just as you need good time management when studying, you need it when you enter the working world. If you establish a time management habit that works for you in college, you can easily apply it to your career when it comes to accomplishing various tasks for your company.

2. READING (FOR MEANING)

College students are required to read a lot — from textbooks to novels to research journals to newspapers, and everything in between. Reading in college goes beyond just taking in words; it means absorbing and understanding their meaning so you can remember certain ideas and facts for your tests and assignments.

No matter what career you choose, you can likely expect more reading — whether it be research for a meeting or important email communications. That’s why it’s important to become a strong reader in college. Learn how to highlight and take notes when you read, and also how to pace yourself to truly digest the content.

3. STAYING ORGANIZED

A key part of successful studying is keeping yourself organized. It’s hard to argue the fact that it’s much easier to get your work done with a clean desk than a messy one. The same goes for a neat vs. messy bookbag.

Organization means different things to different students. Yet, no matter what your organization style, the key idea of being organized is to know exactly where your things are when you need them.

Being organized is also important for your career. As a working adult, you’ll need to keep track of many important documents, bills, schedules and more. Learning how to keep your things in order while still a college student will make your transition to a working adult much easier.

4. WORKING WITH OTHERS

Many college students find being part of a study group to be helpful to their academics. Studying with others can give you more motivation to study, and your study buddies may be able to help you through especially challenging classes.

But being a part of a study group has another benefit: from deciding when to meet to collaborating on group projects, studying with others teaches you how to work as part of a team.

Being a team player is a critical career skill. In most careers, you’ll have to interact with others. The more social skills you build while in college, the more easily you’ll be able to achieve greatness with other people in your workplace.

Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
First Published by  USA Today College 

30 behavioral interview questions you should be ready to answer

The Muse
4 minute read

To help you better prepare for your next interview, here are 30 behavioral interview questions sorted by topic (in addition to 31 common interview questions here) that you can practice.

Not sure how to answer these questions? Here’s a quick guide on how to craft job-landing responses.

TEAMWORK

For questions like these, you want a story that illustrates your ability to work with others under challenging circumstances. Think team conflict, difficult project constraints, or clashing personalities.

  1. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  2. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  3. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  4. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  5. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?

CLIENT-FACING SKILLS

If the role you’re interviewing for works with clients, definitely be ready for one of these. Find an example of a time where you successfully represented your company or team and delivered exceptional customer service.

  1. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
  2. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  3. Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
  4. Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  5. When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?

ABILITY TO ADAPT

Times of turmoil are finally good for something! Think of a recent work crisis you successfully navigated. Even if your navigation didn’t feel successful at the time, find a lesson or silver lining you took from the situation.

  1. Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  2. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?
  3. Tell me about the first job you’ve ever had. What did you do to learn the ropes?
  4. Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
  5. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?

TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS

In other words, get ready to talk about a time you juggled multiple responsibilities, organized it all (perfectly), and completed everything before the deadline.

  1. Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  2. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  3. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  4. Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  5. Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

You probably won’t have any trouble thinking of a story for communication questions, since it’s not only part of most jobs; it’s part of everyday life. However, the thing to remember here is to also talk about your thought process or preparation.

  1. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
  2. Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
  4. Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?
  5. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.

MOTIVATION AND VALUES

A lot of seemingly random questions are actually attempts to learn more about what motivates you. Your response would ideally address this directly even if the question wasn’t explicit about it.

  1. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
  2. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  3. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
  4. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  5. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
The Muse is your ultimate career destination, offering exciting job opportunities, expert advice, and a peek behind the scenes into fantastic companies and career paths. We believe that you can and should love your job–and be successful at it–and we want to help make that happen. Whether you’re just starting out, changing career paths, or aiming for the C-suite, we’ve got everything you need to take charge of your career.

The answer to: “Should I submit my resume as a Word doc or PDF?”

Your resume’s ready to go out there and get you the job. You’ve updated it, highlighted your transferable skills, and triple-checked for typos. Now the only question is how you submit it. Should it be a PDF or Word document?

The answer’s complicated, but to help you make the best, most educated decision, I enlisted the help of two of our career coaches who specialize in resume reviewsAlex Durand did not mince words when he told me that the answer is always PDF.

His sound reasoning? “Leaving your resume in any word processing format exposes you to the possibility that someone might inadvertently alter it. You want interested parties to review the polished, error-free copy.”

This is obviously a good point. A PDF cannot be altered, whereas a Word doc can. Durand instructs: “Don’t give your power away.”

On the one hand, it’s hard to find fault with that reasoning, but on the other, it seems that there’s a bit of gray. Coach Theresa Merrill, who says she feels “strongly” about this subject, notes that there are “pros and cons to both formats.” She goes on to explain: “How you use them depends on how you are submitting them.”

Aha! There’s that gray I mentioned a moment ago. Merrill advises: “If you’re emailing a resume directly to someone, then use a PDF as these are typically virus-free when downloaded. Also PDFs retain formatting.”

However, the reason you might opt for a Word doc is because of the complicated nature of ATS tracking systems. Although she acknowledges that it’s not as much of an issue as it used to be, problems can still occur. The issue, she explains “is that the software may not track or scan keywords on PDFs as well as it does on Word documents,” which means, regrettably, that your application could fail to reach a human.

If you have no idea what an ATS is or if you’ve ever used one, you should probably read thisbefore you do anything else.

Merrill sees no harm in submitting both—if you’re applying through LinkedIn or the company’s website—however, in most cases, this isn’t possible. After all, you’re often prompted to attach your resume—not two.

So here’s what to know as you make your decision: The PDF’s typically going to be the better-looking version, but if you have any tiny worries about an ATS missing your keywords, the Word version is the way to go.

I know what you’re thinking—I’m job searching, I’m full of tiny worries.

I completely understand. Think about it this way: If you’re applying to a role with no referrals or internal connections, you should play it safe and submit your resume via Word because you need all the ATS help you can get (and it’s simply not worth it to take any chances).

But, if you have someone on the inside looking out for your application or you’re emailing your materials directly, then a PDF’s better.

The key, in any event, is to stand out and get noticed—and more often than not, simply applying online won’t make that happen. So if you have the hiring manager’s contact info, go ahead and send your resume and cover letter in a separate email, noting that you also applied online. Not sure how to track down who the hiring manager even is? Career expert Jenny Foss has three fantastic ideas for how to do just that.

And before you stress out too much about this decision—keep this in mind: The fact that you’re even taking the time to read up on this shows that you’re ahead of the pack. That tells me that you’re a hard worker who will land the right job. So, proofread that resume one more time and then submit it.

This story was written by Stacey Lastoe for The Muse, your ultimate career destination, offering exciting job opportunities, expert advice and a peek behind the scenes into fantastic companies and career paths. We believe that you can and should love your job–and be successful at it–and we want to help make that happen. Whether you’re just starting out, changing career paths, or aiming for the C-suite, we’ve got everything you need to take charge of your career. Curated from USA Today College

Top 10 Companies for Internship in Zimbabwe?

Staff Blogger | Africa University

After reading @prowl_magazine’s #TopTenTuesday (yes we love to read magazines other than our own) we have curated their twitter story here. It may give you ideas where to look if you are yet to go on attachment. Feel free to add other companies to the list. 

ONE 

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

 

SEVEN 

EIGHT

NINE

TEN 

5 things you must do to secure attachment in 2017

by Lesley Tinashe Maniwa | Nust-ZW | image creds: stocksnap.io

Finding a place for attachment in Zimbabwe has become a hustle, and being a college student in Zimbabwe, I have had my fair share of experiences which I have found useful and can be shared to help you on your quest to get industrial attachment.

The industrial attachment or the internship is usually a period of 8 months of work related learning experience for a student that was designed by colleges in Zimbabwe and other countries world over. The aim of the Industrial attachment period is to equip and prepare students to be fit for the corporate world. It is part of the requirements of what students have to go through before they are released as a complete product upon graduation.

1. Appreciate that you don’t have much choice

Most students get it wrong when they tend to believe that they have a choice when it comes to companies they want to be attached to. However, in Zimbabwe it can be very dangerous because that same spot you want, is also wanted by thousands of other students too. Every student has a big company name in his or her mind. Everyone wants to be attached at big companies like Econet, Zesa, Old Mutual, CBZ Holdings, ZimPlats, Mimosa, CABS, Delta Beverages, Innscor amongst others. 

 Remove your focus on these big names my friend. I believe that as a student the only option you have is to cast your net wide that way you will never miss it. You may not always get your dream attachment place.

Take this classical situation: at first students will be shunning the Government Institutions just because most of them don’t pay interns. However, when all your options have turned out to be unfruitful, time is ticking and then you will see that you don’t have an option but to go to the government and beg for a place so that you can be able to progress with your studies.

My advice to you is that cast your net wide.  If something comes up on your way take it even if it’s not what you wanted, take it. Something will always come up and you can change.

The first attachment job I got was at one company in Chinhoyi. they gave me an offer, and I accepted.  The the HR Manager said, “…if you get a better option Lesley you can always change.” Within the next 2 weeks I got other offers and I had to choose the one which was best for me.  

2. Create connections or networks

One thing that am sure will work for you are connections, that I’m 100% sure of.

To those due for attachment starting July 2017, I am sure that by now you should have created connections with the following groups of people.

Students who are going for attachment and those coming from attachment. Your colleagues who are currently on attachment will link you up with their bosses and it can be easy for you to get a place for attachment.

Your lecturers and college industrial liaison. Lecturers play a major role when it comes to finding a place for attachment, for your information, 90% of the interviews I attended were organized by my school lecturers. I just got calls from companies inviting me for interviews and I could not remember sending my CVs to the companies but my lecturers and the college did a great job for me and I really appreciate.

Your relatives, family friends, church colleagues, this may sound awkward and corrupt but believe me if you have a relative who has a high post or links to companies that you wish to be attached to, then you have to make use of them. Keep in touch with them and they can help you out.

3. Work for good grades.

I know that when we are at college we will be busy fooling each other saying that distinctions don’t matter what matters is just passing. If you are one of those people who subscribe to that then you need to change your mentality because good passes do matter companies do need students with distinctions.

If you have good passes, chances are high that you will secure a place for attachment at your dream organisation. It’s simple, work hard, play hard.

4. Do your applications on time

It should go without saying, but you should find out when the companies that you wish to apply to will be taking a new group of attachés.

Once you have the information make sure you send your applications on time so that you won’t miss the opportunity. (You can even send in application in advance)

5. Pray

Prayer is the most important thing in everything you do; it is a way of communicating to God. Pray to God tell him what you want and he will surely answer you. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Obtaining a place for attachment doesn’t have to be an overly stressful experience. I hope the tips I have shared with you will help you.

Lesley is a final year Human Resources Management Student at National University of Science and Technology and can be contacted +263771 191 863, you can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Talent: A stepping stone to career success

Thando Nkomo| Nust-zw

University or college is probably one of the best places to interact with the great minds of our time.

In fact, nothing refreshes and tickles the mind than rubbing shoulders with professors and lecturers who’ve done it all and written it all.

As you rush from one class to another, you find yourself caught up and lost in academic chivalry.

Inspired to be the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, you see yourself contributing to national and even global transformation through new ideas and new inventions.

But hold your horses.

Let’s get back to basics.

Surely university can’t be all about reading, scoring good grades and living up to the expectation of over achieving professors.

And the sooner you grasp this, the earlier you’ll find yourself on the path to career success.

To put it succinctly, it is those students who learn to develop their talent and use education as a spring board, who emerge truly successful in their career pursuits.

At the core of career success is talent identification and utilization. When you identify and start tapping into your talent, career success will be at your fingertips.

Whether you are interested in main stream business, academia, the arts and entertainment, sport and even non-profit making industries, developing your talent will enable you to be a cut above the rest.

Focusing on talent will enable you to leave a lasting impression – after all, we are all uniquely talented.

“those who neglect to make right choices to release and maximize their talent continually underperform”. – John Maxwell

It is talent that has enabled Oprah Winfrey to be one of the most influential personalities in the world. Starting out as a television news anchor to become one of the most memorable television personalities in the world, she wouldn’t have achieved such success without identifying her talents, working on them and perfecting her ability to use those talents.

It is talent that has enabled Tyler Perry to emerge as one of the best film producers of our time. Talent is also the foundation of the great motor-vehicle designs displayed by cars such as Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Chevrolet and many more.

Even in architecture, we see the work of talent – structural designs that are simply not by chance, but a reflection of brilliant talented minds. In fact, every act of brilliance, and every material design that captures the minds of humanity across the board is a reflection of talent that has been painstaking developed over time.

However, as author and international speaker, John Maxwell observes in his book A Talent Is Never Enough, there are millions of people who have ability [or talent] but who never get to use it and never reach their potential.

He observes that “those who neglect to make right choices to release and maximize their talent continually under-perform”.

Perhaps this is why businesses and economies in Zimbabwe and Africa are struggling. We have students and graduates who are continually under-performing because they may not be using their talents or simply misplaced.

Unfortunately university may not teach you how to identify and use your talents. But that will never be a good enough excuse for failure. You must identify your talent and tap into it.

This simply begins by you understanding your strengths and your interests. Think about those things that you enjoy doing, or those tasks that you do very well and much better than others.

Once you have identified those, focus on them. Use education to position yourself to be in the industries where you can do what you are good at and before long, you will be smiling all the way to the bank.

Thando Nkomo is a Public Relations Lecturer, Researcher and strategist. He is also the Director of Career Factory, a Career Management Consultancy. Contact him on email: careerfactoryzw@gmail.com; Follow him on twitter @careerfactoryzw & facebook @careerfactoryzw or Whatsapp (0774013988)

Getting to grips with your last lap at varsity.

by Thando Nkomo| Nust-ZW | @careerfactoryzw

Four years at university can seem like a drag, but when you’re in your final year you won’t help but muse at how fast the years have slipped by.

You’re suddenly no longer that wet-behind-the-ears freshy who was stumbling around campus trying to handle assignment deadlines, peer pressure and nasty arrogant lecturers.

You’re in control now. Like wine you have matured. And with maturity you’ve become less carefree.

You’re a senior now and every decision you make is like a gold coin thrown into your piggy bank.

You need to ensure that you finish well.

Now more than ever, you need to make a positive impression to your lecturers and peers.

When you’re looking for that all important first job, they’ll prove to be a very useful asset.

They’ll be the ones you put on your list of references at the bottom of your CV so would be employers can contact them to know more about you.

Or better yet, they may be your next boss.

Creating the right impression then means the quality of your work and behavior must reflect the matured kind-of-person that you are now.

You must get over the hangover of thinking that you’re still a baby – no one respects a little girl or boy in a grown-up’s body.

Your work must reflect the deep critical thinking of a polished up soon to be varsity graduate.

In your absence you must be missed for your intellectually stimulating discourses.

Your peers must love to hate you because of your knack for excellence that reduces them to mediocrity.

You must learn to carry yourself like master because even though you are not there yet, you have abandoned childishness.

Respect yourself and your ideas. No one will respect you if you don’t believe in your intellectual beauty.

img_5842

Just as any athlete will testify, the last lap is the most taxing. Your energy levels may be low and you may be disillusioned by the prospect of failure.

Hold on. You can make it.

All you may need is a breather – away from books and people.

Find a space and spot for you to rejuvenate – it’s not a cardinal sin to tire.

If you have a few dollars on you, spoil yourself into a good mood – you’ll find yourself back on track.

At the end of it all, remember, varsity is not so much about getting good grades.

It’s about meeting people and creating meaningful relationships that can spur you into worth your while future.

It’s about creating and sharing memories – so you look back and sigh at how you made it to today.

Come to think of it – It’s really about growing up!

As you wrap up this episode in your life, remember to leave no room for regrets. Do what you can now and do your best.

Thando Nkomo is Public Relations Lecturer, Researcher and strategist. He is also the Director of Career Factory, a Career Management Consultancy. Contact him on email: careerfactoryzw@gmail.com; Follow him on twitter @careerfactoryzw & facebook @careerfactoryzw

4 study skills that will help you succeed in your career

Erica Cirino
2 minute read

If you’re like most college students, much of your time outside of class is spent studying. Studying is an important part of college, one that goes beyond just helping to get you good grades. It’s a part of your academic routine that—whether you realize it or not — prepares you for a career as well.

Here are four study skills in particular that can carry over into your career:

1. MANAGING YOUR TIME

Figuring out how long it will take you to complete an assignment or review for an exam isn’t an exact science. Every student is different, so each student requires a different amount of time for studying. Over time, you’ll figure out how to best manage your time.

Good time management means you get your assignments done on time (or well ahead of time), but it also means you pace yourself appropriately so that you’re producing the highest quality of work possible. Knowing how to keep and follow a calendar is another important part of time management.

Just as you need good time management when studying, you need it when you enter the working world. If you establish a time management habit that works for you in college, you can easily apply it to your career when it comes to accomplishing various tasks for your company.

2. READING (FOR MEANING)

College students are required to read a lot — from textbooks to novels to research journals to newspapers, and everything in between. Reading in college goes beyond just taking in words; it means absorbing and understanding their meaning so you can remember certain ideas and facts for your tests and assignments.

No matter what career you choose, you can likely expect more reading — whether it be research for a meeting or important email communications. That’s why it’s important to become a strong reader in college. Learn how to highlight and take notes when you read, and also how to pace yourself to truly digest the content.

3. STAYING ORGANIZED

A key part of successful studying is keeping yourself organized. It’s hard to argue the fact that it’s much easier to get your work done with a clean desk than a messy one. The same goes for a neat vs. messy bookbag.

Organization means different things to different students. Yet, no matter what your organization style, the key idea of being organized is to know exactly where your things are when you need them.

Being organized is also important for your career. As a working adult, you’ll need to keep track of many important documents, bills, schedules and more. Learning how to keep your things in order while still a college student will make your transition to a working adult much easier.

4. WORKING WITH OTHERS

Many college students find being part of a study group to be helpful to their academics. Studying with others can give you more motivation to study, and your study buddies may be able to help you through especially challenging classes.

But being a part of a study group has another benefit: from deciding when to meet to collaborating on group projects, studying with others teaches you how to work as part of a team.

Being a team player is a critical career skill. In most careers, you’ll have to interact with others. The more social skills you build while in college, the more easily you’ll be able to achieve greatness with other people in your workplace.

Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
First Published by  USA Today College