After the first tea break, Innocent Unah was in class awaiting our return. What did I tell you about the punctuality of the facilitators at ViMP 2014? Impressive! With him, we discussed the framework for industry analysis, especially Porter’s five forces viz; the bargaining power of the suppliers and buyers, threats of substitutes for your product, degree of internal rivalry and threat of new entrants. This analysis, using whichever framework you prefer, is supposed to help you make decisions such as ‘should I enter into this market? Is it worthwhile remaining in this market? Etc.
Next came Bukola Kogbe on ‘Writing an effective CV and preparing for an interview’. Your CV, she said, has only one aim – the one thing necessary – to get you invited for the test/interview. When you get to that level, remember that you’ll never have a second chance to make a good first impression. Proceed to sell yourself effectively. When writing the CV, including your age, state of origin, nationality and referees is not necessary except asked otherwise. Please do not use common fonts such as Times New Roman. Be adventurous, play with other nice fonts. Other pointers included
Express your skills in present tense; include the skills you have outside of work. Get an independent person to read your CV and make comments. For education, use the certificate; school; and date achieved format. List every training course you’ve ever attended and recent vocational training(s). List your genuine foreign language skills and any unusual interests. Add a note on publications and/or external positions you’ve held. List professional experience with details
And if you don’t have professional experience;
Put your education and matching points first. Sell your good qualities. Tell a story of your personal experience; illustrate your achievements – what you did differently and the results you got – this differs from your responsibility. Show proofs of how fast you’ve learned a task, subject or project. Be open to learning.Bbe willing to work for free –internship programs, volunteer work – this matters a lot. Seek these positions and you shall find.
Recently, I attended a training with Jimi Tewe as one of the facilitators. In the middle of his session, he stopped and said he wanted to pray for us, especially for those of us working in the so-called one-man business. ‘May you be used’ he prayed and no resounding ‘amen’ followed. ‘May you be used’ he repeated; still no ‘amen’. May you be used because that is the only way to get a complete and solid experience; you’ll know everything that your boss knows.’
For interviews, preparation is key. Go with the end in mind – the job! What do you know about the industry, the role, the firm’s competition, and the unique challenges they might have? How does the role tie to your experiences? What do you have to offer the firm (and not the reverse)? Etc. Practise in front of a mirror or with others; Good luck and whatever happens, ‘always be a first rate of yourself and not a second rate of someone else’.
You can imagine that we had lots of questions for her; for many of us, the session was an unlearning to relearn. Though I told the class that the first thing I would do with this knowledge was to rework my CV, I never did remove those unnecessary things – age, state of origin and so on – until I saw the very impressive CV of an older colleague, who was neither in ViMP nor had ever met Bukola. As I write, I haven’t made those adjustments yet, but I will.