Find us on Google+ My Sensible Cent: January 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lessons That Can Help You Succeed In Life

We all want to be successful in life – be it success from our careers, our business ventures, our family life and relationships. Of course, who does not want success in everything? We all want to find ways to be successful in life and probably, we are searching here and there and looking at how people we consider successful strive their way to the top.

Although we are all unique and live different lives, have different abilities and purposes in life, we can probably agree on the ways to be successful in life. These may not be a secret but sometimes we just refuse to follow it.
Here are some lessons to learn on the journey through life
1. Be visionary: Have a clear vision of what you want to do with your life. Every successful career begins with a decision of what you want to be or to do with your life, goals that you want to achieve, short-term, mid-term, long-term. It must be your vision and not that of your parents, peers or spouse because ultimately it’s you who will have to bring it to reality. Without a vision for your life you will easily drift through life, resentful and feeling as if you are simply existing and life has short-changed you.
2. Be resourceful: Make the most of the opportunities and resources that life has given you. In a given position, take time to gather all the skills, knowledge, experience that the position offers. There is no such thing as useless skill or experience. Gathering skills and experience often entails spending several years in the same line of work. Remember that a rolling stone never gathers moss! In my experience I consider a minimum of three to five years in the same line of work absolutely necessary.
3. Be daring: Life is about taking risks, and having the faith and courage to follow your dreams through. Don’t be afraid to take risks. I particularly want to challenge you lady lawyers to start your own private practice, rather than seeking to be hired by your male colleagues. Remember they had the same opportunities and training as you. Think outside the box of looking to be employed by someone all the time!
4. Be tenacious: You need not be an intellectual genius to succeed in this life. You simply need to work hard and to diligently pursue your dream with unwavering courage, fortitude, steadfastness and tenacity. You see there is a big crowd of enemies waiting to see you fail and sometimes actively working to pull you down. If you are not tenacious you may easily give up. Let no one despise you on account of your age, gender, tribe, race or any other stereotype out there.
5. Be ambitious: In everything you do strive for excellence! If you want to leave your mark in life you cannot afford to settle for mediocrity. Do not do something simply because “everybody does it” or do it a certain way just because “that’s the way everybody does it.”
6. Be discerning: It is important in life to focus on those things that matter most. For example, in a job, money is not everything. There are other considerations such as job-satisfaction, opportunities for scholarships, exposure and experience. While we all long for well-paying jobs, you must accept that you may have to start with humble beginnings and that instead, the skills and experience you acquire from this seemingly poor-paying job are priceless! Money is good but the danger of making money your objective is that after a while, it will surely choke and overtake your dream and vision.
7. Be resilient: In life, ugly things happen. You may meet situations where you suffer racial, gender, tribal, religious or other kinds of prejudices. Believe you me, prejudice comes in as many shades as the colours of the rainbow with those who reckon themselves higher up the pecking order, lording it over those they reckon are lower down. Never allow these prejudices to stand in our way! Through sheer resilience, you can face up to such challenges and instead of wallowing in self pity you can choose to turn those mill-stones into stepping stones to success.
8. Be humble: Arrogant people tend to rub everyone the wrong way. On the other hand, there is nothing that impresses me more than people who are high achievers and yet remain humble. Humility simply means learning to keep your success in perspective. Remember you are neither the first nor the last to reach where you are!
9. Self-Critique: For one to grow in one’s career, you must learn periodically to audit your performance. Take stock of your achievements, failures, short-comings etc. with a view to identifying those areas that need improvement. We all tend to stagnate at times.
10. Worship: Honour God and honour your profession by serving your fellow man faithfully. I believe the majority of us here do believe in a power higher than ourselves. You achieve success in my not by your own strength but by God who guides your choices, blesses and rewards your efforts.
In my line of work, I never walk into a courtroom trusting in my own abilities. I pray and ask God to give me “the wisdom of Solomon” (i.e. knowing what to do in a particular situation); to grant me favour amongst my peers and to walk with me each day.

Courtesy of Career Point  Kenya

Friday, January 11, 2013

Job Application Through E-mail - Mistakes to Avoid

Thousands of people have in the past one week graduated from various universities around the country.
For the graduates, this signifies the beginning of sending out job applications, one after another.
Having worked with a number of graduates, more so those looking for internship, I know that many of them struggle with the basics of sending applications via e-mail.
The market has embraced technology and these days, many of the jobs advertised demand that you send your application through electronic channels, the most common being e-mail. For organisations, this eases the task of filtering the hundreds of applications they receive.
The rules for expressing interest in a job through e-mail are simple and easy to follow, but one that is rife with avoidable oversights.
There are two major options. The first is to paste your cover letter onto the body of the e-mail.
Make sure that every step of the way, you proof-read your application. Write complete sentences and words, ensuring that your grammar is correct.
There is a tendency among young people to treat e-mail as they would mobile text messages – writing out job requests with some words abbreviated as common in SMS. Try that and you’ll experience how fast your application is dismissed.
After writing out your application letter, attach your CV in a format that is most widely used, such as MS Word, preferably the 1997-2003 version. You don’t want your employer having trouble opening your CV.
Also, technology has advanced and the employer could be downloading your document on a mobile phone, so the lighter the format in which it is sent the better.
The second option for a job application through e-mail is to attach the cover letter and CV. When you do this, write out a brief text on the body of the e-mail to alert the receiver what the communication is about.
It seems rude to simply attach documents without a little note, unless the instructions specifically state that you don’t include a note.
Personally, I do not prefer this option because. I have come to realise that employers prefer reading the cover letter first before making the decision to proceed to the CV.
When it forms the e-mail body, it makes their work easier.
When you send your application through the first option, include your telephone numbers at the end to make it easy for the employer get in touch with you if need be.
There are a few other things to take into consideration before sending your application to ensure that it does not end up in the recycle bin of a prospective employer.
1. Give your CV a name that identifies with you. Saving your documents using your name will make it easy for the recruiter to match your documents. The preferred way is to have your names and what the document stands for. For example, you could name them John John CV and John John Cover Letter.
2. Be attentive about the subject line. Some organisations prescribe what they would like stated on the subject line. For instance, Company A may require that you quote the application reference number, while Company B may prefer that you put the position you are applying for as the e-mail subject. Follow instructions to make a good first impression.
3. Some international organisations, such as the UN, may require that you apply for the job online via their websites. For this, you must be keen on following instructions and have all your personal information on your fingertips. Also, make your testimonials easily accessible should it be required that you upload some as you fill in the online application.
For those who might be on internship or on a temporary job somewhere, a common mistake to avoid is to use your work e-mail account to send out a job application. Doing so sends a signal to the prospective employer that you wouldn’t mind conducting personal business using workplace resources.
Also, avoid using a spam blocker that requires a person to fill out a form so as to be on your contact list. This not only irritates but also sends out a message that you not so willing to network.
Many people will not bother to send you any more e-mails or updates. Some may actually block you.
Sending applications through e-mails may seem easy, but you can easily lock yourself out of contention. That often happens when you fail to follow instructions and you ignore simple e-mail etiquette.
A Nation Media Group publication