“I am excited to inform you that I have been called to two interviews already ” It was a cause for celebration in the whole office when I received a text that one of the participants now a friend was called for an Interview barely two weeks after our interaction.
The year is almost coming to a close. We often pass off New Year's resolutions as a joke but as time passes and we feel like we have nothing to show. Honestly, it hurts!! I was having a conversation with my cousin as we reminisced over the past year and she said -seemed like she whispered because I felt the same way. “It is almost the end of the year and I feel like I haven't done anything with my life. ”
What happens to us when we feel like we have waited far too long and nothing seems to change. Today however Mary shares her story...
I was working as a clerk in a hospital in Eldoret for six years. My husband at the time was working in Nairobi when we got married. The travelling costs became expensive as I had to travel to and fro to visit.
I decided to resign and relocate to Nairobi. A decision that was difficult to make at the time and one I had to run over my mind a few times. The plan was that I would look for another job back in the city. [...]
“Work hard in school and you will surely get a good job.” I can still hear my mother’s voice echoing the same words over and over.
But when is it going to happen? I have ticked the boxes of getting excellent grades and graduating with an honors degree but still?
Did I miss the memo!!
Growing up, I do not remember my parents agreeing on much but education was a non-negotiable. Getting straight As and an occasional B, when you had a bad day, was not an option for my siblings and I. You had to or else your future will be ruined. I mean God forbid you become like Uncle Brian who did not finish school and now hops from one blue collar job to another.
So we worked hard; at least I know I did. I had mastered all the ‘tips on how to pass exams’. I woke up at 5:00am every morning while my mind was still fresh tackled 10 sums. I would then relax a bit with a set book, constantly going through sample questions to familiarize myself with what will be set in the exam. I would then take a 10 minute break and go to chemistry or biology and that was my morning. I did my best.
Like they say hard work pays. I got an A- in my final exam. My future is looking bright, I thought.
I enrolled to a local university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. The course was tough. It was no easy walk on the park, plus I was dealing with the chaos and confusion of university life. I knew I had to push myself extra hard to ensure I got through this one too. [...]
“Where do you begin after taking time away from your career? This is a question many mothers ask themselves when they decide to pull the work attire out of the closet once again after a long time.
I quit employment to take care of my three beautiful children. It was a tough decision but one I had to take without regret. But as we speak, they are all grown up and enrolled in school. Hence, I had to plan myself on developing a new career trajectory for my life.
I was excited to get back to the job market though I felt anxious. I did not know what to expect as I re-launched my career. I struggled with giving a viable explanation for the gap in my career. How would I justify the years which I was off employment?
I felt stuck!
In search of this answers, I made a decision and enrolled for Almah Interview Ready program. This program completely transformed my professional life. The program shaped my thinking such that I was able to see how my role as a mother was significant in my professional life as it helped build in relevant soft skills
I was able to rewrite my C.V and even highlighted how I can add value to an organization. I learnt how to write a targeted resume. This paid off as I was shortlisted for several interviews[...]
“What would you like to be when you grow up?” This was a common question for every child growing up. It was sung like a phrase as you would quickly respond with your dream career with a huge smile on your face and eyes beaming with hope.
But, what really goes into attaining that dream?
It is very unlikely to walk a few meters before noticing a construction going on whether a new road or a residential coming up. You may even catch yourself a few times staring trying to visualize how the building will look like after its completion. However, Construction is messy, loud, strenuous, and dirty especially when doing the foundation and structures.
It takes work, effort and preparation; I dare to say it’s a process.
Well, this is not a construction class. I will leave it to the experts but the same can be said about life and more so when it comes to building a career.
The start of this journey requires one to have gone through and passed a job interview. These few minutes of face-to-face time with the interviewer are very vital as they determine whether you land the job or not.
Just like that beautiful mansion you like took time to be constructed and polished to what it is; the same effort is required when preparing for an interview. Almah Interview Ready is able to bridge the existing gap in your career journey. [...]
Benjamin Franklin better puts it that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
The online job application process can be likened to the ‘tarmacking’ stage that most graduate meet themselves in after campus. I agree that after numerous applications, getting a call back for an interview is worthy of celebration.
However, being well prepared for an interview to ensure you get a job offer with your potential employer is a skill set that should be in a tool kit of anyone seeking for an employment opportunity.
In becoming Interview Ready one needs to consider the following key steps:
Research about the company beforehand. This means engaging with the different new media platforms a company has embraced. It gives you a better understanding of who they and what they do. It also comes in handy when answering the questions as you are able to tailor your answers by giving examples of what is relatable. It also enables you to understand the value you can add through the position you’ve applied for. [...]
First things first, I just love working in an organization that impacts the community positively. An organization I will grow personally and professionally. In most of my application this was a key criterion.
It was around 10.00 am when the call came in. On the other side of the line was a very mellow and soothing voice- truly made for customer care. My mind was still fuzzy as I had just woken up. However, this sounded important.
“Hello, I am speaking to Maryann. This is Lorna; I am calling you from company X. We received your application and we are pleased to invite you for an interview on Tuesday from 9 o’clock.”
This whole time I was holding my breath. Wait, was my hearing okay or have I just landed an interview? I could not believe it.!!
Finally!!! I was ecstatic. I had made dozen of applications. But since, I noted down some pointers from the phone conversation. I quickly checked my email and learnt which organization it was and what position I had applied for.[...]
I started making my application for internships and entry-level jobs back in school even before completing my undergraduate studies. Online social groups had become job advertisement forums streaming with messages from potential hiring firms. A loyal friend was one that sent me a poster and sometimes a link to a website for a potential job before the due date. (Fingers crossed as you both submitted your applications).
Friends and family members back at home also did their due diligence by making sure they spread the word.
“You know my daughter is almost completing her studies.” My family members alert a possible employer or a contact person every time they meet them.
I spent most of my time looking out for opportunities. I would quickly look at the qualification segment and when I am convinced that this one was meant for me. I apply for the position. My email account was full of applications. However despite the excitement of finally getting to the workspace, I rarely got any feedback let alone a response to any of my applications. [...]
When I did my final paper in Campus, I felt victorious!!. It was like the feeling a team has in the world cup finals during the last seconds before the whistle blows. Then VOILAA!! Your team is declared the winner
Finally, I was through with the 8-4-4 system (Kenyan Education Curriculum)
However, I noticed the examination room was all quiet. This was strange than usual! Everyone seemed to be in deep thought.
Where do people go after this? What should I do? I speculated the questions my classmates were struggling with.
And deep down, I too despite the excitement I felt. This was also a shared struggle.
“I should probably treat myself today’’ I thought. But another loud thought went “No, I should save that money for a rainy day” Then an abrupt thought said. “ I think am finally growing up; sacrificing and making tough decision will be one of my realities.”[...]
Honestly most of the things I learned are never taught in class
Having a successful career is the dream of many college students. We describe it with great detail and enthusiasm with eyes brimming with hope the future. However, the path is not always smooth. Transitions are a time of promise but also vulnerability
Fresh from school, I was fully armored ready to embark on this new journey –my field attachment. This was my first job. But I was completely clueless. The workplace environment was foreign to me. I did not understand how to conduct myself, what to wear, how to relate with others; generally what to expect.
As a true campus girl, I turned to the greatest miracle of this age. Google!! Thanks to the person who invented it.
…I typed ‘What are the best work outfits for work?’
“If only I had someone to guide me. Someone to hold my hand. A person to assure me that it was all going to be okay.” Deep down I wished for a mentor. [...]
It's a Friday evening and you feel exhausted after a long day in class. You are really excited that the long awaited weekend is here, time for you to relax and rest. You can't wait to get to your room, shower, have a snack and then relax. As you are heading to your room you run into one of your friend from home. He is pretty excited to see you and you decide to have a chat and catch up.
He offers to take you out for dinner in the nearby restaurant so that you can talk more. You accept his invitation not only because you want to catch up but because you are also hungry. As you are having your meal he gives you updates of the things happening back at home. It feels good catching up with him and getting to hear about the changes happening in your home town. [...]