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Branding yourself for job interview



Global unemployment rate which is currently playing around 66 per cent. It is a worrying trend to all world leaders and the youth at large. It is high time job seekers honed their presentation skills in order to remain competitive in a fast changing business environment. The approach towards a job interview with your dream employer ought to be treated with utmost seriousness for positive long-term gain.

If not handled with due care, you might end up having a stagnated career path, often receiving regret letters from one year to another. Today, we examine workable personal branding techniques that will serve you well for many years to come.

1. TARGET COMPANY / INDUSTRY: Most young job seekers do not have a clear definition of who they are, what they represent or what value they have towards making the world a better place to live in. It would be advisable that you sit down with pen and paper and describe your strengths (what you are good at both academically and socially) and weaknesses (what you are not good at) in detail. Elaborate clearly what subjects you liked and passed with ease while pursuing college education. Fish out your college project; creatively imagine the value it might bring to the economy and which industry your document could benefit directly.

For example if you did Commerce, finance option, and you compiled a project on the Kenyan Investment Industry it would be wise to knock doors in the stocks, pensions, bonds, bills, forex, and real estate businesses. After matching your background knowledge to the target investment industry, make a list of target companies within the various sub-sectors of the investment industry. Get accurate addresses of the said companies and purpose to visit them.

2.TARGET EMPLOYER: After preparing a list of target companies to approach, you might want to skim your list and narrow down to the best managed and well-paying companies. Do a prior albeit covert study of their range of wage/remuneration and staff benefits. This approach will come in handy especially when the question about your salary expectations pops up. Also, it helps you work smart on a shoe string budget.

3.CURRICULUM VITAE: When you are fully armed with a target list of well-paying companies that you would like to serve in future, it would be best to dust your CV. We are in a digital age so, compile and scan all necessary documents, testimonials and pack them in PDF file formats. Experience teaches us that online tarmacking is much faster, professional and simpler than offline door to door tarmacking. Send mails to all companies in your target list. Do not forget to compose a compelling cover letter that prospective human resources managers (HRMs) will find hard to resist. Having done that, check your mailbox daily for any job invitation letters. Take any regrets with humility as various companies have varying reasons for not hiring you.

4.GOOD GROOMING: In case you are invited for a job interview in one or a number of your target companies, borrow cash from friends and family and spend it all on good grooming. An affordable but well pressed suit, a new pair of socks and shoes, a smart phone if possible, pay for an executive haircut and buy yourself a professional leather folder to carry hard copies of your ID, documents, and testimonials on the material interview day. Do not forget to buy a newspaper to update you on current industry trends that might be asked on the interview day. Every industry is reviewing policies and has emerging trends that you had better be abreast with.

5.INTERVIEW DAY: Now that you are lucky to have been called for an interview, it would be best if you travelled to the target company earlier. Punctuality and first impressions count to the chances of you being hired. Factor in the downtime wasted on traffic jams and adjust your watch accordingly. HR panels have packed schedules and you had better be punctual than late. When it is your turn to enter the interview room, shake hands firmly and confidently and wait to be ushered to your seat.

During the interview, listen keenly to questions asked and ask for clarifications when necessary. Avoid non-verbal habits like fidgeting, folding arms, biting your ball point pen that indicate a mismatch of facts between your resume and your job interview presentation. Answer questions procedurally, politely and as adequately as possible. Avoid promises that you know too well you cannot keep. When presented with an opportunity to ask questions, do not forge to ask about staff benefits, pay perks, working hours, off days, overtime pay, and whether there are any  additional tasks outside your JD that you may be required to handle from time to time. Inquire about crisis resolution in the company.

In order to be successful in your job interview and minimize chances of getting a regret letter, a professional elevator speech will be needed. With that in mind, you never know, you might be hired on the very interview day only that organizations have an established protocol on how to divulge such information. Happy job search.


Maina Gachanjah is a Marketing Consultant at Juhudi Investments Consultancy. Email: [email protected]

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