It’s sad what most people think are the determinants of landing a good job in Ghana. At the top of the list is ‘Who you know.’ Not the positive referral kind where quality and expertise speak through the mouths of impressed colleagues and satisfied customers, but the depraved kind where the connected father’s daughter gets the job only because she’s the daughter of the connected father. There’s that and there’s exchanging all sorts of ‘under-skirt favors’ for a job.
Over time I’ve realized that shady favors can only get you so high on the career ladder. There’s a threshold beyond which only pure talent, demonstrable success, a fiery passion and seasoned expertise will grant access. The people who shape industries and redefine the business world’s status-quo are cut from different cloth as those who parade endowed features and connected parents as CVs. This post is about the first group.
How I Got My Job!
Years ago, I got my job because of Goldinwords. The lead recruiter at the Advertising firm happened to be a blog fan. He got me a meeting with the coolest boss ever and it’s been sunsets at the beach since (I lie; he reads my stuff you know. lol). It wasn’t common practice then, CVs were the uncontested
king. But so much has changed since and an online presence is slowly replacing the traditional CV as the lasso that ropes in your dream job.
Relying on your CV alone to get a high profile job is like computing complex algorithms with ‘counters’ and tiny stones. The nature of the job itself requires a rare caliber of talent to execute it. Your inability to show that even in the application process puts you in an unfavorable position.
3 Steps To Guru Status.
Today’s savvy employer wants to know more about a candidate than a CV can say. He’ll like to be impressed even before the interview. The easiest way to do that is Googling the candidate or searching him on Linked In. He’d like to close his browser and say “Wow, here’s someone I’d like to interview!” It takes more than an active Facebook page to achieve this and that’s why you may want to consider these three things going forward.
- Decide where you want to be in the next five years. If imagining yourself in the top 5 percent of professionals in your industry doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster, you’re either not ambitious enough or unexcited about your career path. In which case you’re unlikely to find the rest of this post useful.
- If however, becoming a top-gun in your field turns something on in you, then the next step is deciding what road-map to use. Getting an MBA isn’t always the next logical step, which brings me to this point;
Another unfortunate trend these days is people returning to school as a pre-requisite for a promotion at work. What that breeds is a bunch of book-long managers who have only a framed diploma and a car sticker or mug to show for an ‘I’m worth my salt’ conversation.
Most blue chip employers will choose demonstrable success and evidence of relevant key achievements over what the University of Ghana thinks of you. That’s not to say returning to school is bad. I think it’s fantastic, but only if it’s more than a promotion pre-requisite. When a promotion is the driving motivation, you’re less likely to make the most of it. With that said, I move to no. 3.
- Work at being a thought leader in your field. Unfortunately our culture tends to make you easily come off as a show-off or braggart when you start voicing your thoughts on a particular thing. People ask questions like “Who are you?” “How many years have you been at this?” “Are you trying to say you know more than me?” “How much are you even making now?” yada yada yada. Get past that and keep your eyes on the prize.
If your dream is big enough none of those questioning your audacity will be in your league in three years anyway.
Share useful resources on LinkedIn and twitter.
- Start a blog and give an addictively interesting twist to what you do.
- Mix up your Facebook rants and jokes with a few insightful things about your industry.
- Offer free advice on what you do to anyone who may be interested.
- Be known for something.
The Beautiful Aftermath
The good thing with this is that you start seeing the need to develop yourself. I mean rubbish said to a mirror is for your ears only, but rubbish on Social Media is to millions of ears across all continents. This realization will push you to know what you’re talking about. The fear of becoming a world-acclaimed charlatan will force you to watch more educative YouTube videos, read Slideshare presentations, watch some TED Talks and tap into a mine of invaluable resources all around you.
When you do these, you slowly begin to stand out and build a perception in people’s minds (which is what a brand is). You approach Top Of Mind Awareness and become likely to be considered as a must-have on a shortlist of candidates for that dream job you’re eying years down the line.
So get with the program. If you cant buy a domain of your name and populate it with useful content, see what WordPress or Blogspot can do for you. Demonstrate all those things you’ve listed in your ‘Key Skills summary’ on the Internet and and I’m positive we’ll meet in 1st class soon. Till then, never stop dreaming! Peace out.
PS: Don’t keep! Share…& then subscribe.
And let’s connect on twitter! @benanyan