Your Newly Acquired Degree won’t get you hired, this will..

“I review CV’s from the bottom going up not the conventional top to bottom way….”

Sarah Richson, Global HR Director,  Techno brain said.

The unemployment rate in Kenya, stands at 40%, with the highest percentage among the youth between the ages of 18 and 34 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. It takes a university graduate five years to get a job in Kenya according to the British funded study on unemployment and higher education.

A report released by the Commission for Higher Education informs us that more than 50,000 students graduate annually from private and public universities in Kenya. Only half of them are suitable for employment. And of these graduates, more than half are not suited to their career choice, the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) notes in a survey.

Last year, India had the most graduates of any country worldwide with 78.0 million while China followed close behind with 77.7 million. The U.S. is now in third place with 67.4 million graduates, and the gap behind the top two countries is widening.

In a world full of learned youths with all kinds of qualifications,what sets you apart? There is a 23- year old lady/gentleman somewhere pursuing a Master’s yet applying for an entry-level job and an undergraduate and a forth form leaver applying from the same job. More often than,  it’s not that to you are underqualified, it’s that you are not selling your values and your worth well on your cv. Adding a masters on a degree doesn’t really guarantee you a job, but I am not discouraging anyone,  if anything education has no barriers and boundaries so please read but just remember that it doesn’t guarantee you a job.  In government offices especially, half of the population is old people, men and women about to retire and more often than not their jobs are acquired on a basis of who do you know and who do they know ( a topic for another day). Who does your network comprise of? In rare cases so you find youngsters in this offices and if you do they are restricted to certain jobs or are jobless at all but still being paid to be in the office.

With age, technology and high rates of unemployment currently affecting us, we – the youths need to shape up or ship out. It’s a two-way traffic, no more, no less.

In her motivation speech on 08/09/2017 at Yusudi, Sarah Richson, Global HR Director Techno Brain, said the she reviews all the CV’s she get from the bottom – the interests part to be precise. It sounded weird to me too at first. Our CV’s are crafted top- bottom and not the other way round. Not because the too is not important but almost everyone can brag of a degree or certification in something. So it’s a common thing. The interests  and hobbies – your interests and hobbies to be precise- is what makes you stand out. The market is flooded with very many learned friends refer to the statistics above, so she looks for that which sets you apart, your interests.

This settled well with me because recently in an interview, that was the second question i was asked and we dwelt on it for more than ten minutes as the interviewers tried to understand me better besides my academic qualifications. One thing that struck me about that interview is that things are changing and real quick (0 -100 real quick). I was used to a certain set of question (tell me about yourself, why should we hire, what are your salary expectation, why this, why that, how about this and that but rarely did any of those questions ever focused on my interests.

Listening to the HR Director of an organization that spans 5 continents out of the possible 7 and considering the large numbers of learned and qualified jobs seekers, we must have that one unique thing that sets us apart from the rest. That element that makes any employer want to hire you at the blink of an eye despite your academic qualification. There’s more to it than just the good results and certificates. That is why we have school dropouts running very big businesses and making money left, right and center and smiling all the way to the banks like nobody’s business. No one wants to hire someone with literally no interests on earth. Your interests set you apart and the bottom line is let them be of VALUE.

Having said that, make sure that when writing your interests and hobbies they are:

Have something you are passionate about. Something that excites you, something that makes your eyes sparkle when you talk about it. Passion is displayed in our eyes, research has verified that.

Mention your hobby in a way that sounds unique. Don’t say reading, when you can say ‘classics’ or ‘Indian art history’ or something more specific. Have an example especially when it comes to reading. Have at least one book in mind that you really love and a reason why just to say the least. If it is music talk about genre, artist or even a special decade!

You may like to think, but really that is not a hobby.
If you put something like singing, be ready to sing in the interview.
If you put something like dramatics, be ready to emote.
Put something that can break the monotony of interviews.

Be honest at all times, but if you have more than one hobby, choose the one that the interviewers may be able to relate to.
If you don’t have a hobby or interest, get one!
It’s not just something to talk about in an interview, it is something to treasure and add value to yourself as an individual.
Get Interesting and interested!!!

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