5 Tips to Help You Become More Employable

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Article by: Peter Gatuna

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[bctt tweet="There is a saying that ‘to make money, you just need to solve a problem for someone.’ If this really is the case, then Africa – with problems in every sector – must be the richest continent in the world." username="QaziniKenya"]

Work is an essential part of life. Not only does it allow you to earn your livelihood, but it is also part of what gives meaning to life. That is why unemployment is such a serious problem in the world. In developed countries, even a .1% rise in unemployment causes leaders to squirm. A big part of the reason why Donald Trump’s toxic rhetoric was popular in America was that he promised more jobs for his followers.

In Kenya today, approximately 22% of youths are not engaged in gainful work. That is a huge waste of human resources not just for the government but for the country as a whole. There is a saying that ‘to make money, you just need to solve a problem for someone.’ If this really is the case, then Africa – with problems in every sector – must be the richest continent in the world.

Work is now synonymous with money. The problem arises when there aren’t enough jobs for everyone. Because finding a job means finding financial freedom, competition arises. Companies have to vet many applicants to find the one with the skills they are looking for. These are called employable skills and they include the expertise, tools and resources, and personal attributes required to create value. It determines how easily a person adapts to their job role and how satisfactory their performance.

So how do you set yourself apart from all the people looking for the same work opportunities that you are chasing? If you are a business owner, your job is selling to the customer. As such, the customer is your employer. And you need to ask yourself what sets you apart from the rest – your competitors. Why should a customer choose you and not anyone else who can do what you do? 

Define what you want to do

The economy has been growing away from the old fixed ways of work and becoming more freelance and project-based. Growing economies like Kenya (and many other countries in Africa) are leading in this labor decentralization. This so-called collaborative economy rewards those who know what they want to do and are self-driven to chase it.

You can start by asking yourself what you are good at. The next step is to figure out how you can package your skills for the market. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You just have to pick what you excel at that you can be paid to do. If you are starting a business, defining what you want to do allows you to find your niche.

Think about the value you create

Most people think that connections only determine your chances of employment success. This is the wrong mindset unless you are looking for a parastatal job. In competitive businesses, your value proposition matters more than who you know. Essentially employers are asking; ‘why should I pick you and not anyone else?’

[bctt tweet="In a competitive market, your value proposition matters more than who you know. " username="QaziniKenya"]

A good applicant must know what the employer is looking for. No business can thrive if the business owner does not understand what the customer wants. In employment or in business, there are gains to be made by looking at the impending value exchange from the side of the employer. Whenever you apply for work, focus on this. Prove to the employer that you are most suited for their needs and you will be in free.

Refine your CV/Brand

Your ability to find work depends on your ability to sell your skills. Other than portraying your educational qualifications, your CV shows how well you communicate. It also tells the employer whether you have the skills they need to fill a position. A good CV will get you noticed more, increasing your chances of finding work.

If you are in business, your brand image becomes your CV. This is how your prospective customers will first judge your business. An outstanding business that is poorly branded would be beaten by a lackluster business with a great brand. 

Find the right employer

Finding the right employer is all about finding work where your skills and competencies will be valued and appreciated. Even while you are applying for jobs, you have higher chances of finding employment when you match your skills with what an employer is looking for. This will probably be very tedious. You have to vet hundreds of job offers to decide which one you are best suited for. But in the end, it will be worth it.

The ability to find the right employer is the ultimate difference between successful business executives in million-shilling jobs and those who languish in middle management for ever. The former know to take their skills to employers who see and appreciate their value while the rest bemoan their cruel fate.

Work on your employable skills

Soft skills enable you to perform your job duties and to thrive at the workplace. The soft skills needed to land a job vary by industry. To increase your level of productivity, you should also build on those soft skills that employers are looking for. These include;

  1. Communication: your ability to convey information will determine how good you are in your job. Enhance your information processing and communication stratagem to thrive.
  2. Motivation: self-motivated people are more employable than those who have to be pushed to do everything.
  3. Reliability: employers want workers who can be counted on to deliver day in and day out.
  4. Team work: big projects call for collaboration between departments and even other partners. Your ability to work well with others matters a lot.
  5. Leadership
  6. Problem-solving

Your level of employability is the measure of your value as a worker in the labor market. It is a way for both you and your prospective employer to gauge your suitability to work together. Your level of success in your chosen field will depend on your ability to match your skills with the needs of the market.