Find us on Google+ My Sensible Cent: July 2015

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.