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Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Save for the December Holiday

The Christmas Holiday is here with us, the jingle bells are ringing already, and many people are looking forward to spending quality time with their family and friends. The truth is that for you to enjoy this holiday and any other, you need to have money. Not just money, it has to be enough or else you will live with embarrassment or in-imaginable debt. Avoiding these two, will require some smart spending on your part.
Accordingly it is always wise to save for the December holidays because there is always a cost that comes with the season. Whether it is traveling upcountry, or attending a social function, you will always require to have some money.
Given that saving itself is not an easy task and most of these promises we make to ourselves that we are going to change the situation often remains at that level, I would like to look at 3 tips to help you save for and during this festive month.

3 Saving tips to Guarantee Holiday Celebrations

1. Make use of off peak hours

If you are daily commuter across the urban centers, you have probably noticed that the fares are very expensive during rush hours. In the morning, leave very early and in the evening leave slightly late to avoid the peak hour rush.
That 30 or 20 shillings savings fare saved, per trip, may seem like a small measure, but it will pay off in the long run. For example if you use two matatus to and from work every day. It means you are making 4 bus trips. Multiply that by Ksh. 20 and you get a saving of 80 shillings daily. In 24 days a month that’s already 1,920 shillings saved.
Traveling to up-country can be made much earlier or just after 25th and making sure you come back earlier (generally before New Year). Delay a bit and you will surely pay double.
Fares always consume a great percentage of our income without even noticing. At times such as this, every coin counts.
2. Stop unnecessary spending

I know this is one of those things which are easier said than done. It requires discipline to avoid some unnecessary expenditure, especially the things you have got so used to that you start to think they are part of your life. Are you that kind of a person who likes to treat themselves to pizza, groundnuts, ice cream or soda? As the festivities begin, it will be wise to pause all that and save this money for the holidays. Spoiling yourself will follow in the next few days.
Impulse buying is the number one reason many people find themselves totally broke just days after payday. Resist the urge to make unnecessary expenditures and you will be smiling when you check your bank account during and after the December holidays.
3. Start saving early enough

Realistically speaking, if you haven’t been saving the rest of this year, there is absolutely no way you can make up for it now. In case you intend to enjoy the festive periods, you may want to start your saving as early as January.
Early saving will spare you the pressure that comes with the huge holiday expenditure because you will have a set plan and you will be spending within a budget.
To avoid the January blues, you need to make realistic holiday plans. If you do not have money to travel, upcountry or to the coast, you may want to pick a fun, less costly activity to indulge in.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Kenya Based Company Fuzu Offers Lifeline to Job Seekers in All Sectors

Kenya based company, Fuzu has launched an internet based recruitment platform akin to Linkedin that is  intended to tap into  both the informal sector and the formal employment sector.
The platform, the first of its kind in Kenya, will offer diverse services. What sets Fuzu apart is its recruitment processed based on experience rather than the education biased system, meaning that there will be considerations on experience, skills, and talent.

LinkedIn steadily facing competition from players ranging from -Facebook for business- to small start-ups like LinkedIn for doctors, LinkedIn for teachers, and the like.

Fuzu automatically matches a job seeker open positions that fit their profile. Through Fuzu, all a job seeker need to do is send an online application, whenever they come across an interesting opening. Once, your application is received you become part of the selection process.

The employers will then have the chance to investigate individuals online and launch recruitment campaigns. Those eligible for employment will be connected to couching, mentorship, reasoning test and English language test.
Though the site cuts across all kinds of skills and employers, it will be the first to keenly consider talent and experience in connecting employees to employers.
A new report by the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa ranks Kenya as the country with the highest number of informal sector employment in Africa at 77.9 per cent.
The study attributes the high level of informal sector workers to inability of the formal sector to absorb the huge number of job seekers.
Fuzu is banking on the sector to grow its usage in the country. The site was launched simultaneously in Kenya and Finland with plans to move to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi as it widens its footprints to the rest of the world.
Already, KONE Kenya, Craft Silicon, Techno Brain, Chase Bank, Equity Bank and M-Kopa are enrolled onto the platform.
Kenyans living abroad will also benefit from the recruitment site since they will scout for jobs in Kenya as they make plans to relocate.
Fuzu now join local recruitment firms Duma Works and Net Consult. However, the new entrant thoroughly profiles job seekers allowing no chance for upload of CVs.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Breaking Out of the Financial Rat Race

Photo courtesy
The financial rat race is an endless, self-defeating and futile pursuit of financial freedom. It depicts  the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze. The rat never gets out of the maze and the sad bit is that it has nothing to do about it. Just like the poor rat in the maze, many of us find ourselves trapped financially. 

It is a common problem among the working professionals, for salaries to disappear as soon as they hit their accounts. Two weeks after receiving the salary, you are broke and wondering who will loan you money to sustain you for the next 15 days. This translates to living a half a month on debt which must be paid next month.  As much as you would wish to, you tend not to have an escape route as you are poised to borrow every month to finance your past expenditure. You keep on promising yourself that with the increase in income, you will settle all your debts, be financially stable and save for your future. However, as your incomes grow, so is your expenditure. As you think on how to cover the debts, more expenditure awaits you. Your kids get old enough for school, medical emergencies become inevitable, you need a car etc. You end up consuming all you have made, if not more. The debt burden grows: morgages,car loans, school fees loans and the rest. Fast forward to that day you would have wished to retire and you find that you cannot. Why? You do not have any saving to sustain your life. Call it whatever you want but, the truth is you are dependent on work to eat. You are in a financial rat race. So why does this happen and how can we break out?

Reasons why you are Always broke:

1.You lack a budget
Are you an impulse buyer? Do you buy things on the whim, without analyzing if it is a necessity or not. For your money to be of any help, you have to enlist all that is a necessity and in their order of need. Leave out anything that you can do without. Remember savings is the first necessity here, followed by debts. Helb loans, M-shwari, friends soft loans, comes to mind. Save for your future and have a plan on how to clear your debts. When the budget is made and sound, adhere to it. 

Photo credit

2. You are not saving 
I wish I would have started with this, but for me budgeting comes first. 
Do you always spend everything in your account? This will surely leave you broke and in debt. You must save for a rainy day. Savings or investments should never be sacrificed for expenditure. It is rarely possible to do what you intend to i.e. start savings when the income increase. The moment you get a taste of what you can consume rather than save, you will continue doing that. So it is good to make saving a culture. Savings should not became the option and consumption became the necessity. To break out of the financial rat race you have to acknowledge that expenses will always go up, so to postpone savings is lying to yourself.  Inflation is constantly living with us, only the rate changes. In fact the more you climb the social ladder the more things are thrown at you to buy. Whatever life you choose, the level of savings should never depend on the cost of living. That is why saving should always be the first in your list of necessities and should never be compromised whatever the situation. (Repeat). When your expenditure increases, reduce other consumption. If your motive of working hard is to cover for increased expenses, then this will never end. Rise in expenditure will always outshine your income increase. There will always be that new thing to buy, new cars to drive, new places to visit, new schools etc.

 3. You are Philanthropic
Is it common for your relatives and friends to call you once it is end month to send them something? Do you feel compelled to do that even at the expense your own needs? You need to stop this. Even though it is good to help your relatives and friends, do so with your financial status in mind. If you are not able to help just explain to them in a polite manner that you are not in a position to do so. You may help them later on when you are able to. It is mediocre to help your brother pay his son's school fees only for your child to be sent home for lack of school fees. I know they will talk bad if you don't help, but remember you do not achieve anything by pleasing people. Be honest about it and all will be well. The blessings will come, especially when you will be helping again.

4. You are constantly Borrowing:
 Are you always seeking a soft loan to upgrade your life? You must stop this. Loans are not bad, per se, however, borrowing for aspiration is bad debt. Loans are important for personal development and growth. However if you constantly borrow even for the slightest things, you will forever remain broke. You will be depressed to learn that after paying your debts, you always have nothing left to consume, let alone save. Always live within your means. By this I mean, buy what you can afford not what you can afford repayments on. (Repeat).  We often confuse these two.  Just because we qualify for a loan to buy it does not mean we can afford it.  The trap of borrowing to maintain an aspirational lifestyle is very common and it will lead you straight to the financial rat race. Borrowing for a holiday, taking M-shwari loan for lunch, swiping a credit card at a restaurant, and using your AFB credit card on that trendy shoe is not right . Do not borrow to live a life you cannot afford. (Underline)

Because of all these reasons, at the end of the day you will not have an exit.  You cannot stop working because  you never invested enough to sustain your lifestyle. The true means out of this rat race is having built an investment portfolio that can sustain your lifestyle. NSSF pension funds alone will not be enough. Therefore, to live and sustain the lifestyle you desire, you not only have to work hard now, but you need to prioritize building of the assets rather than consumption. Have your priority right and you will be amazed at how much wealth you will accumulate. You may even find yourself retiring early.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five Reasons You Just Don't Have a Job Yet

Lack of employment is one frustrating thing graduates go through. Most people have predetermined limit when they intend to accomplish certain goals and this perhaps adds more more pressure leading to our desperation in our job search.

Statistics shows that in a graduating class, only 3 out of 10 graduands get jobs within a short time after graduation.
Many reasons contributes to this endless job seeking menace in the country. While the 30 percent gets jobs early, some graduates have stayed for several years without a job. Some may have given up but many still soldier on.

The following are some of the reasons you could still be waiting in line for your first job.

1. Poor CV:
The CV is the number one tool to  sell you out to your potential employers. Your CV should be structured in such a way to highlight your skills and entice that employer into hiring you.

2. Applying for the wrong Jobs
You may be applying for jobs you do not qualify. This will disqualify you during the initial recruitment stages, you may not even make it to the shortlist.
Apply for jobs that match your skill sets and experience in order to have that edge over your peers.

3. Wrong Attitude:
"Your attitude determines your altitude" is what were told in school. This cliche`e is as applicable to job as is to your career. Steer away from the your mind away from this attitude of “there are no job vacancies in Kenya”. If this is the attitude you will want to take carry with you while job searching, it will surely drain you.
Stay positive even when every odd is against you. This will boost your confidence and determination.

4. Lack of Focus 
If you don`t know where you are going then you won`t end anywhere. Having a goal in your job search and staying focused in achieving this goal will definitely boost your chances of landing that job fast. This may come to narrowing down that extensive job search list and going for specifics. When you can clearly picture what you want, it will be easier to chase down that particular dream. Don't be searching for any job... go for a specific position.

5. Lack of Market Skills
Having that degree alone is not enough. Most employers are looking graduates with practical skills applicable in the market. Internships and volunteering  are excellent ways to bridge this gap and gain these needed skills. Instead of just sitting home frustrated about lack of jobs, do some internships.
If you can't get that internship, perhaps you should think of volunteering. This goes a long way in helping you build skill set that will put you ahead of other job seekers out there.
Landing a job may be hard, and hectic, but try changing the outlook on things. Adjust your job search technique and see how far it will take you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why a Government Job is Likely to Stall Fresh Graguate's Career

Working for the government here in Kenya can be a walk in park; ask anyone working under any ministry or government institution and they will surely confirm that to be true. Only a few will genuinely say they are having too much to do and these very few are those who are keen to take initiative.
Most Government workers will leave their work premises at 5.00 PM having done very little or worse, no work, they never understand that there may be a need to work late nights at your job. So, if you are job searching, they will advice you to find one in the government. Why? This is because it is in Government where people are paid to sit around, swing their chairs and do absolutely nothing.

Kenyan job seekers are often enticed by these jobs as they offer the perfect opportunity to earn a living without having to stress on issues too much. It is, however, the one mistake you will want to avoid making.

Why Government jobs is one of the career mistake for fresh graduates

If you have ever been to a government office, either to get your passport, national ID,  NHIF card, Birth certificate, or any other document that is required of you. For every Government office there is the good and the bad; good employees who will take their time to satisfactorily tend to you and the bad employees who will sit at their desk, make you queue for long hours, then close and go for lunch without notice or hurry out at 4.30pm and tell you to come back another day.

It is almost impossible to find a good government, but when you meet one, be grateful. I am a frequent visitor to the NHIF, NSSF offices, Public hospitals, Huduma center and Registrar of persons offices and a part from Huduma centers, which is the best innovation in Kenya since Safaricom, the rest of the government institutions are inefficient and annoying. Nurses at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital will just stare at your dying patient as their listen to music on their China phones. Long queues awaits you at both NHIF and NSSF offices and to be served past 3pm on Friday is a crime in most government offices. Even POTUS Obama alluded to this inefficiency in Government institution in his book "Dreams from my father" where he went to follow up on his misplaced bag only to be dismissed arrogantly by a lady busy chatting with her colleagues at the airport's reception desk.

More often we have had to put up with the laxity that comes with government offices, and being part of this inefficeint team could impact negatively on you and your career growth as well.
In a bureaucratic work place where services are done according to laid down work standards and follow a certain process, it is hard to become an effective employee, especially when the task requires you to liaise with others who are, more often than not, non coorparative.
While you may want to be singled out and distance yourself from the general perception of government officials, others are bound to drag you down with them. If your colleagues decide to perform a 5 minutes' task in 3 hours, then you get pulled into the ineffectiveness.
If you aim to be an effective and successful person in later days and enjoy being in your dream job, then government offices would not be the best place to start off your career. You’ll hardly have anything to do, which means you will not encounter any challenges to toughen you up for later jobs and the world.
Being that creativity is always lacking in government jobs, you will have a hard time making informed decisions.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Why You Should Never Stay in the Same Job More Than 4 Years

The job market nowadays is tough. Long gone are the days when people used to spend their entire career life in the same or different positions but within a single company.
Today, we’re living in an age of job hopping, where regularly changing jobs is not only accepted, but encouraged.

This shift in the job trends is causing employers sleepless nights. It is becoming increasingly hard for an employer to be sure that his/her most valuable employee will still be with the company tomorrow. They come and go. Sometimes with good reasons sometimes with no explanation at all. 

Why is there rampant job promiscuity? 

We all agree that the current employment climate requires job seekers to be more agile. Therefore, you’ll discover that fewer and fewer people stay in one job for longer than three or four years. Here are four reasons you should also join the bandwagon.

1. Rapidly Evolving Skill Sets
It’s human nature to feel comfortable at their job and settle into a predictable routine. When you’re capable of performing your job diligently and competently, you may less motivated to try and improve or update your work skills regularly. If you are at this stage in your career, worry not – you’re not alone. However, it may be just the right time to check out what’s happening on the job market. Companies are constantly changing how they do business and how they recruit their staff. A skill necessary today may be obsolete tomorrow, and vice versa.
Look at the job requirements and see if they match your skill set. You may be astonished how much things have changed, as you may not be in a position to offer what employers are currently looking for.

2. Advancements in Technology
As technology evolves, so does the face of entire job industry. If your job is technical, keep yourself informed on what is what’s happening in your industry. While your current employer may not be adopting new technologies, its competitors out there might be.
If you’ve worked for a company for several years as a Windows systems administrator, for instance, entire lines of software and new hardware may be completely foreign to you. If you do not keep up with these changes, you may find it hard making the next step in your career. You don’t want to become a dinosaur in your industry by staying at a job for too long.

3. Perception
Imagine you’re on your first date you discover that your partner has just come out of a 15-year relationship. Think about how you would view that person and how they may relate to you. Unfair or not, you will start making weird assumption on your dates relationship longevity.  It portrays the person as less ambitious and at times hard to train. The prospective new employer may not be sure if you can adapt to a new culture. (For football lovers you can refer to what happened to Victor Valdes when he joined Manchester United after so many years with Bercelona). Questions like, why did this person leave his job after so many years? Are his skills? Is he motivated? and many more will arise and can be just enough to put off the employer completely.

4. Career Advancement

While you can work in the same company for ages, holding the same position for over four years can be problematic. If you aspiration is to evolve within your company, you should be looking to do so within the first two years. If you have been in the same job job position for four years, you may want to consider other options out there.
For instance, if you’re happy with your boss and the work but stuck in a no-growth position, try branching out to other departments or even fields. Additionally, strive take some courses that can help develop your skills. As usual, consult with your line manager since he’ll be in a better position to advise you on the best courses and the skills you may require to get that promotion. The key factor here is to keep moving forward.

A Word of Caution
Keep in mind that being job hopping a little too much can also be detrimental to your career. Jumping from one job to another, so often, can give the impression that you’re not dependable. Frequent job-hopping can also affect your seniority and leave you feeling that you’re taking a step backward whenever you join a new team.
As with anything in life, think carefully before making any major career decisions. Just don’t let yourself become stagnant where you are. Exploration is vital to keeping you excited and motivated about your work.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Interview Answers: “Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?”

One of the most feared interview questions is; Why did you leave your last/current job? Most job seekers find this question a big challenge because the answers given can change how the interviewers sees you.
In Kenya, getting to the interview stage is hard enough, therefore you will not fancy missing chances at interview stage because you did not know how to go about a certain question. In this light, I would like to highlight how to answer this challenging question.

The Best way to answer; Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?

One thing you need to keep in mind when answering this question is not to lie. Sometimes (which is most cases) your prospective employer follows up with your previous company to find out why you left the job.
Whereas saying the truth is fundamental in answering this interview question, people leave their jobs because of different reasons and some can disadvantage you. It could be that you resigned because you didn't get along with your boss, or your salary was too small or maybe the new manager was too much on you or you were fired for one reason or the other.

Whatever the reason for leaving your past job, you will have to give a believable explanation if you really want the job.

You Resigned- How To answer; Why Did you resign your previous job

I realized I had learned almost everything in my position and was open to change. For this reason, I did not want to lose focus from my job so I decided it was best to leave and refocus on my career. I needed to find a job with more growth potential.
This portray you as serious job seeker who knows what he wants and is seeking the job as part of his well laid plan rather than being jobless.

You were fired - How to answer; Why were you fired;

“The way I envisioned my roles in the company and the overall direction of the organization was in contradiction to that of my line manager/boss. So, after a number of discussions, we mutually agreed that it would be best to part way with the organization.”
This answer is not a lie, it tells the interviewer that you were fired but also portrays you as someone who knows what he/she wants in his/her career and is willing to work for it.

However you decide to go about the reason you left your previous job question, make sure it does not open up grounds for many more questions from the recruiter. You do not want to say something you never intended.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How Hiring That Nanny can drag You to Jail

The newly published regulations setting the minimum wage for domestic workers threaten to make house-helps the preserve of a few rich households, if homes were to stick to the law.
The regulations has set the minimum monthly salaries a domestic worker should be paid in every major town, compulsory weekly off days and/or overtime compensation.
Acting labour secretary Raychelle Omamo has in a legal notice granted all domestic workers in Nairobi a 12 per cent pay increase in their minimum pay, effectively pushing their minimum monthly salary to Sh10,954 from Sh9,781 last year.
Photo credit

The house helps are also allowed a mandatory weekly 2 day break. Failure to grant this compulsory  paid leave, the employer will have to pay the househelp at the rate of Sh527 per day or an additional Sh4,216 a month.

Adding that to the basic minimum salary of Sh10,954, means domestic workers who do not get 48 hours off a week will earn not less than Sh15,170 a month – nearly matching, if not surpassing the pay of many low-cadre workers in government and the private sector.
These rates apply to those working in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu while those in other urban centers will be required to pay Sh10,107 monthly.

Any employer found in breach of the new rules risks serving a jail term of up to three months, a fine of Sh50,000 or both.
Regulations setting minimum pay for domestic workers were introduced in 2011 to align the country with the stringent International Labour Organisation (ILO) proposals, aimed at improving the working conditions for those employed in the informal economy.
Therefore before hiring that nanny you so much need to take care of your baby, be aware of this regulation. And if you can't afford one (which is the most likely scenario) then you better think of baby sitting your child at home alone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Simple Ways To Achieve Your Annual Financial Goals

If you were not aware, we have come to the end of the first half of the year 2015. How did you fair on, financially?
Whether you are employed or job searching, you will agree that life is harder nowadays. The cost of living has escalated, basic goods are no longer affordable and all these loads of bills to settle.  If you were not lucky (read not well organized)  you had to go through these past six months being broke. You are terribly failing on your new year resolutions.
Now, where did the rain start beating you? Where did we go wrong? Why can't you achieve your financial goals? One reason is the aforementioned, high cost of living but still, we might just be the ones digging our financial graves not just in the past 6 months, but throughout our lives:

What are the common mistakes preventing us from achieving our Financial goals?

Spending More Than We Earn: Even though basic financial management rule dictates that we should live within our means, majority of Kenyans have found themselves spending more than they earn. 
Failure to Track Down Our Expenditure: Tracking your expenses is especially useful when your expenditure exceeds your income. Unfortunately, there’s the section of Kenyans who don’t track down their expenses which means anything goes for them. They end up spending their all.

Keeping Up With the Joneses: There are those Kenyans who are constantly in compettion with their friends, neighbours and family. Obviously this will leave you broke because you may not have the same income, neither do you have the same needs. Buying unnecessary things, just for competition sake, is a sure way to be broke and in debt.

Constantly in Debt: Talking of debts, there are those who are constantly in debt 24/7. They borrow one debt to pay another. Debts interferes with our financial planning as you lose control over our funds. Living on borrowed money is both expensive and unsustainable.

Remedy for these pitfalls?

Quite simply, one should spend less than they earn. Living within your means is the first step to financial freedom. The rule is that you should save at least 10% of your income and if possible even more.

Two, Track down your expenses to the very last dime. No matter how small the expense, it should be tracked to come up with a monthly estimate of how much one spends. Every time you get money — whether it’s from your paycheck or  other personal businesses — write it down. Every time you spend money — whether it’s paying bills, bus fare, or buying coffee — write it down. Track down every cent that enters or leaves your life. It is the first step to making a good budget.

Three, as a rule of accounting, one can only budget with cash at hand and not expected cash. The way the world is, you cannot be part of another person. Living another person's life will only frustrate you. So, you should be grateful for the little you have and be content with it and move on with life at your own pace.
Finally, avoid debts at all costs. If unavoidable, debts should be managed. Debt for asset building is
necessary but not for wants or to compete with friends.

Goal Setting
Money and goal setting tend to go hand in hand, so set your goals and endevour to achieve them. The trick with proper goal setting is to break down the goals down to small manageable steps done monthly.
Secondly, break your financial goals down into the year. And every month, make sure to do the task that will enable you achieve the big goal. That way, at the end of each calendar year, you will be able to review if and how you achieved this.
Finally, it is also vital to look at the goals at least weekly in order to be attuned to them, remind yourself of your targets and keep yourself motivated in attaining them.

You still have half a year left and am sure you can accomplish more than half of what you had envisioned at the start of this year. Take the above steps and be grateful for whatever little you achieve this year and aim to improve on it next year. All the best.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

3 Advices To Ignore When Job Hunting

If you are looking for a job, you probably have sought some advice from the more experienced relatives, experts or superiors; those with a better understanding of the job search process and can say something about what to do and what not to do when searching for a job.
All this could be a good thing for you the job-seeker, but when you decide to take in all the advice given without being careful which one will work best and which one will work against you then you might be job searching for a long time.
Not all advices will work for you as they did someone else. Remember professions are different and in the same way, companies are not the same; there are large corporations that will require years of experience and small companies that will not demand much.

So, what advices should you ignore?

1. “Apply to a job that you know will make you happy”
While it is a good thing to want to be happy at what you do and to love your job, this advice may not work to your advantage. Especially if you are a fresh graduate looking for a position that will give you the experience you want to advance in your career.
You will be at a better advantage if you choose to ignore this advice and instead apply to one that you are well qualified for.

2. “Tell your interviewer the exact salary you were earning in your previous job”
When you hear this advice, you are better off not acting on it. Being honest about your salary is as terrible as it gets. You might give a larger fee than what the employer is willing to give and kill your chances, or you might mention a smaller fee than the one budgeted for your position and end up suffering for it.
Entry level candidates, the latter is common. Do your research on how to answer the salary question to avoid being sorry.

3. “Keep your CV to 2 pages maximum”
If this is not a requirement in the job you are applying for, don’t let it become your application headache. If you have
done a lot of volunteering or have several achievements, don’t shy away from listing it all down. Employers are different and what is not liked by one may be impressive to another. But also, do not include unnecessary information and bore the recruiting firms or employers.

4. “Apply to every job related to your field, even those with more experience. You never know”
This advice is more likely to lead you into depression than give you a job. Requirements are set for a particular reason and if you keep making applications for jobs you are not qualified for, you’ll keep getting nothing for a reply.
The job searching process can be very frustrating, but it does not have to be. Have a strategy that will work.
Source: CareerPointKenya

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Resume Tips: How to Write a Good Resume

Image is everything when you’re a job seeker. In fact, your resume is a prospective employer’s first impression of you. This is especially true of anyone seeking job opportunities in a creative field like graphic design or media production, so it’s important to make that first impression count. Combine powerful content with a professional layout to get their attention and keep your resume from ending up in the slush pile.
Establish Your Personal Brand Early On
Remember that a resume is a scannable document that only gets 10-20 seconds to impress an employer; however, the beginning section is the part most likely to be read in detail. Go for maximum impact by starting off with a strong headline that supports the profession or industry you’re targeting.  Next, write a summary that clearly highlights the benefits of hiring you. Include core competencies employers in your field look for when hiring.  Finally, clearly list other important credentials such as career experience, education, awards, professional organizations and any other relevant information.
Share Tangible Results
All employers want to know one thing when searching for the right candidate to fill a vacant position: “How will hiring you benefit me?” Your resume has to answer that question. One way of achieving this is by listing achievements you have accomplished for each position. The achievements that stand out the most are ones that are in some way measurable. For example, a measurable key achievement on your resume might read, “increased revenue by 37%. “
Keep Things Uncluttered
Even when you’re seeking a creative job, your resume needs to be clean and uncluttered. Make sure margins and tabs are properly set. Keep the font style and size as consistent throughout the resume as possible. Use bold sparingly, and add white space to break up sections and keep things easy on the eyes. Shading, boxes and graphics are ways of increasing visual interest.
Create an Online Presence that Compliment Your Resume
In most cases, resumes are still the primary tool used to secure employment – even for creative professionals. It’s also important to recognized that more and more, employers are using Google and other search engines to learn about candidates before they are contacted for an interview. It’s a good idea to utilize social media sites like LinkedIn to build a professional profile. You can even link to your website or an online portfolio. You can include your LinkedIn web address on your resume hard copy, just as you include your email address or any other  contact information.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively for Your Job Search

According to LinkedIn, there are more than 800,000 Kenyans registered on this Professional network. However, registering is one thing, utilizing its potential effectively is another thing altogether.

As we know, recruiters and employers are constantly hunting for the best candidate to fill a specific position in their organization or the best candidate to present to the client. In this case they have no choice but to come to where these professionals are and LinkedIn happens to be the right place.

Candidates are often judged by how they present themselves online. There is the type that always posts motivational messages and quotes on life, religion or even politics. The type that is always following celebrities and known personalities.

But how about engaging that Human Resource manager, employee or employer from an organization  you are interested in? Instead of following Richard Branson, Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates connect with individuals who can add value to your career.

How to Job Hunt Via LinkedIn

I don’t know why you signed for LinkedIn but I have these two guesses. You could have joined LinkedIn to search for that dream job or to network for your business. If you have other reasons other than these two, then this may not be the right post. If you are looking for a job then why don’t you have a better profile?
Start by uploading a professional photo. What would come out as a good LinkedIn profile photo? Look at ease, look confident and smile. Remove any distraction behind or next to you (that means nothing else in the shot; no kids, no friends, no wife, no hubby, no pets etc). If you can afford one, get a professional passport photo taken.

Brand Yourself.
If your top skill is capital management, describe your capital management proficiency in your summary as well as in multiple work experience descriptions. Don’t be a jack of all trades.

Have a detailed job description.
Where you currently work, your start date and what you do. Update your profile frequently by adding new employments and achievements in your past places of work. Spend some little time on your profile once in awhile as it’s the only avenue recruiters get to know you. Make good that first impressions!
When contacting a recruiter or any other person that you think can be of help, your approach really matters. Bombarding a recruiter's inbox with messages asking for a placement is not going to give you that job. Apart from being unprofessional, this act will only portray you as someone not serious enough. Why not start by engaging him in a personal chat, get to know this person and their organization. Ask about their recruitment process. Do they accept unsolicited CVs? If yes, why not email him/her your CV indicating clearly the kind of job you are interested in. Make the conversation personal as opposed. Don’t just inbox with the message, "please find my CV" or "I am looking for job ABC."

Lastly, engage!
For you to be recognized online, start by posting helpful articles and links about your profession. Don’t do the motivational quotes that every average Dick and Harry is doing. Always post content that will add value to your connections and bring out your knowledge and interest in your field. And if someone sends a message to your inbox , be courteous and reply.
It would be worthwhile joining the numerous professional groups in your field and contributing. A professional group will help you advance your knowledge and skills as members share their experiences. By posting in the group you establish credibility and grow your influence.

LinkedIn is such a wonderful employment tool and as more Kenyan employers and recruiters are turning to this valuable tool to source for candidates, you can count on LinkedIn to offer you that dream job.  Online savvy professionals are now using LinkedIn to grow their networks for jobs and to develop their career. Don’t be left behind.

Monday, June 22, 2015

4 Job Hunting Tips While You Are Employed

There comes a time when your current job is no longer appealing to you either because the salary is in adequate, or the schedule is just too crazy for you. Whatever the reason, job hunting while you are still employed is acceptable.
In fact, it is advisable to conduct a job search while you are still employed because it makes you sell better than when you are jobless.
Are you at that point in your career where you feel like you should change jobs? What is the right and wrong way to do it?
The following are tips on how to actively job search while you are still employed but avoid creating bad blood between you and your current employer.

How To Job search While Still Employed

1.Keep it Secret
If you want to keep your current job, it is wise to keep your job search a secret. Some companies have a policy to fire employees who are actively job seeking. Do not compromise the job that you have on another that is still uncertain.

2. Do not use company resources to job search
Being ambitious is one thing, but using company resources when job hunting is outright reckless. You may want to save on the money to go to a cyber cafe, but honestly, stop being cheap.
Job search on your own time away from the office and using your own resources. Be a smart job seeker.
While networking on professional social sites like LinkedIn, it is advisable to use your personal contact details not company contacts. Emails or phone calls made to the company are more likely to sell betray your intentions and may cost you your job.

3. Schedule interviews wisely
Whether you lie you are going to a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with a client,  interview scheduling should be done wisely. Always be cautious and ensure that the real purpose of your absence is not discovered by your employer. This could cost you your current job.
If you are used casual wears to work and then suddenly show up in in the morning in a suit, chances are that you will raise suspicion. Dress normally to work and make use of the washrooms to change for the interview.

4.Keep your work and job search separate.
Job searching is time consuming and tedious. Do not let your work be affected by using company time to work on job applications. This could affect the quality of your work and could divert unnecessary attention towards you.
Perform your job responsibilities fully and only when you leave work, you can start on the job search. The two should not be done hand in hand.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Finding a Secure Offshore Banking Account

While it can be difficult to search for an offshore financial institution, it is equally challenging to locate an offshore company that guarantees discretion and confidentiality. Ensuring that banking transactions are secure and confidential are the most important goals of an offshore banking company.

Favorable Territories

Some offshore companies within popular jurisdictions are subject to extreme laws that permit country officials to change government policies because of tax-related pressures. Countries such as Switzerland and Panama are two that often change their laws frequently because of such pressures. On the other hand, jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands or the Channel Islands have more favorable tax laws that not only permit institutions to provide confidentiality as an offshore banking solution, but also provide more liberal tax incentives for offshore clients.

Asset Protection

Offshore companies gradually continue to offer more options to allow customers to perform traditional banking activities such as wire transfers and online banking regardless of modifications to banking privacy laws. Although such laws can change without notice or consideration to the offshore consumer, finding and choosing the best offshore banking company that prides itself on maintaining privacy for its clients will far outweigh the impact of countries that modify their laws frequently.

Trust Options

Another offshore banking solution for clients is the offshore trust company. This type of banking product fulfills additional demands of clients who want complete privacy as they perform daily banking and trust transactions. For example, offshore companies are able to accept client deposits without having to reveal individual identities to third parties.


Opening an offshore account with the help of an offshore company will give you greater peace of mind and a refuge for your wealth in a private, secure place. Offshore companies offer a variety of short- and long-term options, depending upon the goals of their clients. Clients have the option of investing in tax-free stocks, commodities, and/or interest-bearing term deposits.

Offshore companies that offer asset management services and help to protect their clients’ wealth from litigation and questionable trust administrators provide the best incentives for future clients who want to see their assets grow without the heavy tax burden of some countries.

The most important thing to consider in searching and selecting the best offshore banking company is the policy against criminal actions and subsequent convictions. Most reputable offshore companies have a policy of non-tolerance for clients who are convicted of tax-related crimes within their home countries.

3 Ways To Overcome The Job Search Misery

In the job search process, you will either be constantly frustrated for not getting to the interview stage or face rejections over and over. If you allow these frustrations to take control, stress start kicking in and then you start moving gradually to depression.
At this point you are in a state of misery and might be leaning towards giving up, but don’t allow yourself to accept defeat. You can refuse to be frustrated and instead choose to maintain confidence. You can kick the job search blues away if you will yourself to.

Here are 3 ways you can overcome challenges in your job search.

1. Avoid Isolation
The potential for feeling isolated and alone is the greatest roadblock any job-seeker can face. Getting out and about as much as possible is critical to your success. Since networking is the most direct route to your next position, you should be meeting people at every opportunity.
Try being active in professional associations and groups relevant to your line of work, Volunteer in a related field or try joining a job search group (these can be online, either in Linked In, Facebook or WhatsApp) where you can engage with other people in your situation.

2. Practice Proactive Stress Reduction

Plan ahead and determine the best methods you can use to make yourself feel better and relax after a tough day. Some of the methods that can work would be to identify close friends you can go to talk to or confide your frustrations to.
Another way to reduce stress is to complete a project where you will see a tangible result such as cleaning out a drawer, or rearranging your closet.
Also, if you can afford to take some time away, perhaps a weekend or a bit longer, do so during your search. Adding some real distance both emotionally and physically to an issue can provide renewed focus and energy. It will also improve your overall attitude.
3. Set Yourself Up for Success
If your skills aren’t current and competitive, it is difficult to feel good about your viability as a candidate. To be successful, you will need to sell yourself with confidence to potential employers. So, if you can afford it try taking a class to improve your qualification and skills.
The job search process is never easy, at least not for most, so try as much as you can to remain confident and energetic. You never know when it is your time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How to Survive on a Low Income in Kenya Today

 Most households in Kenya today are finding it hard to survive on the peanuts they earn to the end of each month. With inflation ensuring that the prices of goods and services, in Kenya, are increasing at a rate faster than your pay cheque, it is easy to see why this has become an overwhelming problem for so many people.
This can be especially true for low and middle income families (what majority of Kenyans consider middle class is actually the upper lower class), who are already feeling stretched to the limit and have very little or no resources left after footing their basic bills.

All is not lost, however, as there are some basic ways that every 'hustler' can save money on their day-to-day expenditure. Below is a look at the top money saving tips perfect for anyone, more so the low-income earner
  1.  Save on Transport: Transport is a recurring expense which consumes a significant portion of a Kenyan income. Therefore, it is only wise to save that 10 or 20 bob, per trip. Always look for ways to save on transport expenses. Be it walking the short distances, using public transport instead of driving, or waking up early and staying late in the office to avoid the rush hour peak fares, saving on transport is a must for a Kenyan hustler.
  2. Change Your Bank Account. If you have been operating a bank account which charges account keeping fees or that which requires you to have a minimum balance on your account, then it is prudent you change to a more pocket friendly bank. The Kshs. 200 account maintenance fee might seem small but its effect on your money is significantly huge, especially when you don't have enough income to sustain it.
  3. Saving on Meals: You don't have to take your breakfast in a hotel if you can easily wake up early and make it yourself. A cup of tea in Nairobi in 2015 is ksh. 50 or more. Whereas this may be tastier and ready made, a cup of tea would cost you ksh. 15 bob or less if you made it yourself. You can carry your lunch to work instead of buying lunch in the cafeteria for over 200 shillings.
  4. Save on TV: Until recently, television was not considered a recurring expenditure to the Kenyan low income earner. However, with the enforcement of the digital migration directive, Kenyans have found themselves paying something little to watch TV. But to save on TV, it may require that you eliminate your Pay TV services and opt for a free to Air TV instead. The cost of a free to air set top box might be slightly higher than the pay TV ones but the overall cost of a pay TV (even if it is kshs. 150 per month) is tenfold more.
  5. Shopping: You don't want to spend the 1,000 shillings daily on grocery if you hardly have enough cash to feed to span a month. Shop for sales items at the grocery store and strive to purchase items in bulk, to get the cheaper per unit price.
  6. Movies and books are sometimes considered a luxury, but if you have to, rent a movie instead of heading out to the movie theater where tickets are fairly expenses. Some information contained in the the books can be accessed inexpensively through the internet or by renting instead of buying a book.
  7. Saving on Cell phone credit: If you have a cell phone plan already, you may opt for the monthly post paid service, if your calling is intense or reduce extensively on the number of unnecessary calls you make. SMS plan and Whatsapp comes handy here.
  8. Eat outs and Dinners: Limit the number of times you eat out each month and choose to eat at home instead. When you do eat out, be sure to ask for water instead of more expensive drinks, and skip dessert at the end of your meal.
  9. Save on Electricity: Lower your electricity bills, by using energy saver bulbs and appliances and turning off your lights and TV when you are not in the room, and unplugging your appliances at the outlet when not in use.
  10. Sometimes it is good to avoid big stores: Sell and buy items at a local kiosk or smaller stores when buying clothes, household furnishings and miscellaneous goods. The supermarkets are cheap outlets for basic commodities like Unga. However, when buying furniture, and clothes, you don't want to compete with guys who hold the notion that expensive is stylish.
  11. Health and Fitness: Instead of paying that monthly subscription at the gym, you can start a walking club with some of your friends, or purchase some yoga training videos that you can do at home. Keeping yourself healthy is fundamental both to your current and future savings. Watch what you eat and keep exercising. The good news is: healthy food are inexpensive.
  12. Buy Generic: Brand names are always expensive. Therefore it makes sense to purchase generic-named medications, cleaners and groceries in place of the "original" ones. Cautions: do not try this trick on electronics, the cost will double.
Combining these twelve money savings tips can help a low income earner spend less on the everyday items they purchase and survive to end month with zero debt and/or extra cash for savings. While not all of the tips may be applicable to your household, just doing five of them on a regular basis can help you save a lot of money over the course of just a few weeks.  You should always be on the lookout for ways to save money, no matter how much you earn.