2021 Workplace Superpowers – The Musthaves

If I was asked what my special skills were a year ago, it would definitely differ from now. 2020 came with a twist and remote work forced every one of us to learn how to Do It Yourself (and I don’t mean cooking).

Here are some of the must-have skills for 2021 that will make you more sellable to recruiters, and an asset in your current workplace.

The requirements for success in the workplace are changing and what matters most is your ability to adapt to change/trends as they come.- Nneka Alfred, Head of HR, She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

Hard Skills for the Workplace


1. Data Analytics: The workplace today requires us to think in data. This requires us to do a bit more research, crunch those numbers, understand raw data and drive business growth based on concrete analysis.

2. Content Creation: Your ability to produce entertaining or educational material that not only caters to the interests and challenges of a target audience but increases engagement and conversions definitely sets you apart from others in your field.

The content you produce can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, graphic design and newsletters. 

3. Marketing: Businesses worldwide need analytical people who understand what sort of tools are available in the growing digital toolbox, and know how to dig in through trusted channels.

4. Sales: This can pass for both a hard skill and a soft skill as sales involves persuasion, but with a specific commercial end in mind. Your ability to convert leads to revenue would give you a spot in any workplace.

5. Video production: The average person will watch 25 continuous days of video in 2021. Video content is quickly becoming the dominant form of all communication and companies are fighting to create effective digital video assets.

6. Product Development: This involves managing the process of developing a product or enhancing existing products in order to meet customer expectations effectively. If you haven’t noticed, times are changing and the direction of products being developed is too. 

Soft Skills for the Workplace

1. Creativity: Developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems.  Some people are naturally creative on their own, but a lot of us need to bounce ideas off others to get the creative juices flowing.

An ability to learn continuously and willingness to adapt to change is essential to boost your creativity.

2. Communication skills: Interpreting information through speaking, listening and observing is a must-have skill for 2021. Organizing thoughts and data points into a comprehensive, holistic narrative will get you where you need to be in your career.

3. Collaboration: Collaboration suffers when roles and goals are not defined. The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who’s doing what. This simple act can get everyone rowing together faster and more effectively. 

The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who's doing what.- Nneka Alfred, Head of HR, She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

4. Adaptability: Manage your mindset. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances starts with a mindset that’s willing to adapt to changing circumstances. If you tend to balk at change, reflect on the reasons why — and then see if you can reframe your perspective to help you see things differently.

5. Emotional intelligence: Practicing control, knowing when to push, expressing yourself and observation of interpersonal relationships among people in a workplace is very important when working with people.

6. Leadership: Leadership in the 21st century is much more about influence than authority, learning to appreciate and adapt to people with different perspectives, priorities, and personalities is a key skill to develop.

Having a difficult time figuring out your superpowers? 

2021 workplace skills

Here are three questions you can answer to guide you:

  • What unique contribution do you bring to projects, conversations, and meetings you attend?
  • Why do team members come to you for help?
  • What would be missing if you were to leave your current place of work?

If you are unable to answer these questions yourself, ask a colleague or friend. If your answers do not reflect the skills listed above, don’t relent or give up. The internet is packed with so much information, take some short courses, seek guidance from a work buddy, mentor or your boss. 

A superpower isn’t just a skill but a perspective, a mindset and a way of working that enhances everything you touch. The requirements for success in the workplace are changing and what matters most is your ability to adapt to change/trends as they come.

Visibility In The Workplace – The Why and How

Do you believe that out of sight is out of mind? Is remote work affecting your visibility in the workplace? When remote work was introduced, it was perceived as a step in the direction of work-life balance.

For many people, it allowed them to combine carrying responsibilities and work more easily while others struggled with remaining visible. In this article, I will be sharing the importance of increasing visibility in the workplace and some of the potential ways to achieve this.

The importance of standing out from the crowd at the Workplace


Exclusive access to opportunities

If you are constantly hitting those numbers, delivering results and solutions, everyone would want you on their team. Let’s face facts, everyone wants to work with the 5-star performer. It gives you that reassurance of success. If you have exhibited great skills and abilities and other people in the organization are aware of them, there’s a high likelihood that you will be picked for the next opportunity in your company and beyond. I speak from experience when I say, great work reputation travels fast in the job market. So work hard on building that visibility so when next there is a big-money event, you are top of the list.


Continuous learning and improvement

Good work requires that you work with people often. Most times, you might be working across teams with different people and this, in turn, exposes you to more learning opportunities. As you work on something new or take on new projects, you can acquire valuable learnings that add to your experience.


Stellar Appraisal Ratings

When an employee gets very good appreciation and job appraisal after working for the year, the chance of their stability involuntarily increases alongside promotions. People would always advocate for you during those meetings and this helps your manager justify your performance. The quality of work comes first i.e. your performance on tasks will get more weight but an endorsement from other managers in the organization can go a long way in your cause of getting a good rating or promotion.

In summary, the benefits include exclusive access to opportunities, stellar ratings, promotions, and an opportunity to learn. 


Tips on how to go from invisible to visible

Speak up in Meetings


A closed mouth during meetings does not provide recognition or visibility. Do your research well in advance before team meetings, ask good questions, make solid recommendations, push back on ideas that you do not find feasible during meetings. Contribute, speak up, and let your voice be heard.


Participate in Learning Opportunities

Make time to be part of team learning sessions, individual training sessions, and utilize resources that have been made available to the team. Acquiring more knowledge would not only improve your ability to function effectively but improve your expertise in a particular product, service, or process. Once you’re an expert on something, people will always come to you to ask for help in that matter. This is effortless visibility. 

Demonstrate Your Expertise

Most organizations admire employees who can bring something unique to the company. If you have some creative idea/skill which could improve organizational processes, reduce cost, bring more revenue, increase employee satisfaction, or reduce cycle time, etc. do not hesitate to bring your skills to bear. If the idea is implemented, you become a star in the organization. There are chances the idea may not be implemented, don’t feel discouraged because management will appraise the fact that you’re making an effort to do something different and unique.

Strengthen your relationship with your boss

A good relationship with your boss is one of the most important parts of your success story. It may be helpful to align on goals and see things from their perspective. Understand their priorities and preferred mode of communication. Focus on the positive, everyone has something worth respecting. Try to get to know your manager on a personal level by engaging them in conversation on topics beyond work. 

Participate in team activities

You might work or an organization where different teams are working on different projects/tasks. Try to find an opportunity to collaborate (on a specific project/task) with other teams than your existing one. You can seize this opportunity to highlight your skills and abilities in different teams. Besides, this will show your drive for initiatives and developing a positive image for yourself.

In the world today, being good at your job isn’t the only requisite for getting ahead in your career. If key people aren’t aware of you, you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to improve your skills and take on interesting assignments, despite your hard work and good performance. This is especially important if you work remotely because people might forget about you if they don’t often see you in person.

Team Building – A necessity or waste of time

Despite the misconception that team building is lame and barely seen as relevant, did you know that team building is the most important investments you can make for your team?

It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. 

In this article, I will be talking about the importance of team building and sharing some valuable tips on how to plan effective team building activities.

Why Team Building?

1. Networking and socializing 

Socializing and getting to know your team in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. Team building boosts morale and also allows for team members to work better at solving everyday workplace issues.

2. Teamwork and boosting overall performance

Employees tend to understand each other better after completing a team-building activity. It becomes easier to identify each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This collaborative spirit and team effort helps everyone work even better together on future projects vital to a company’s progress.


3. Fostering of innovation and creativity

Successful team building events not only bring people closer together, but they also contribute to a more successful and creative workplace. Games and competitive exercises become more challenging as people tend to have a larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with. 


4. Communication 

To no surprise, communication and working better together is the top reason why people choose team bonding. Everybody desires a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and collaborate with anyone. One of the results of team bonding is that the activities actually work to improve communication.

Are you looking to improve your team’s communication skills, collaborativeness and performance? Why don’t you try these tips when planning your next team building soiree:

  1. Identify the goal of this event

This includes identifying what you want the focus to be on. It is best to plan an entire team-building session around key objectives. For example, if you want to foster better communication among group members, then your activities should include initiatives that call for various combinations of players taking a leadership role in giving directions, commands, or ideas in both verbal and non-verbal mediums.

  1. Replace the usual team dinner with something new

Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways. Take your team paintballing or maybe to a boxing ring to let off some steam. A little physically challenging activity might be all you need to get people to destress. 

  1. Quit looking at it as a favor but as an investment

This event isn’t fluff. You don’t have to break the bank for something fancy or to go on expensive trips or experiences, but don’t skimp either. Be willing to make a real investment. Bad experiences stick longer than beautiful memories. 

  1. Keep it up

Most team-building events fall flat because it’s a one-time activity that is done and then forgotten. It’s key to find ways to keep organizing these events.

The challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations. One way we do this is to have a monthly team hurdle. At this event, team members can celebrate achievements and show appreciation to their co-workers.  

  1. Assessment/ Evaluation

After team bonding exercises, you must evaluate and measure impact. For you to measure a team member’s ability to collaborate with other departments on projects, I would recommend that this be evaluated or assessed during performance appraisal.

This can be done in the form of a questionnaire, survey or during 1-on-1s with other team members. This is the easiest way to track improvement when it involves showing team effort.

How do you know you’ve gotten team building right? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track! A little adventure can unlock many levels of creativity.

The Ideal Startup Employee

In the 1950s, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 index was 60. Today, that number is less than 18. This just means that the most successful corporations are growing three times faster than they have in the past. To succeed at this rate of rapid change, employees and business leaders in start-ups have had to adapt by adopting growth mindsets, learning new skills, and embracing flexibility. 

In this article, I will be sharing some valuable tips that make you stand out as an exceptional startup employee.

It takes a certain type of personality to want to work at a startup . So just before you submit that resume, take a moment to compare your assets to these must-have traits below:

1. Adopting the Idea Generator personality 

Most business owners value employees who are able to take it upon themselves to do some exploring on their own, generate, develop, and communicate new ideas while figuring out solutions to difficult challenges. This involves taking ownership and wearing the hat of a divergent thinker. Come up with many ideas, select the best idea (or ideas) and work to implement the idea and put it into practice frequently.

2. Thriving in organized chaos

The best way to describe a startup is as fragile as a newborn baby. Some days, you wake up and realize, “What we’re building isn’t actually scalable.” The immediate reaction to this would be to change things immediately. The best startup employees not only understand this but are ready to adapt to new changes alongside helping you spot issues along the way  for the improvement of the whole.

“Challenges can get overwhelming, and by extension, the work at SLA can get overwhelming as well. However, nothing beats the satisfaction of completed tasks and goals.”- A She Leads Africa Employee Click To Tweet

3. Adapt to changing processes

As times change, processes change too. What that means is, you have to not expect things to always be set in stone in a startup. Obviously, the goal for these sorts of organizations is to find the ideal standards and build processes and best practices that scale and age well. Most of all, the ideal employee just understands when things need to change at a moment’s notice and be willing to run and sprint with it.

4. Look beyond the formal job responsibilities

When you’re working in a startup environment, there is a never-ending list of things that can be done. On some days, my to-do list ranges from “in the weeds” tasks like prospective candidate follow-ups, vendor follow-ups and training new employees.

Juggling multiple tasks can be extremely mentally tasking, however, the great startup employees realize they are building their “future role” at the company and beyond so they take it upon themselves to not only get their own work done, and done exceptionally well, but find other ways to check things off the company’s to-do list– even if it means being a salesperson for an hour.

5. Don’t measure your value between the hours of 9 to 5

In order to be a valuable addition to a fast-growing startup, you have to be fine with the fact that your day won’t always start right at 9:00 AM and end the moment the clock hits 5:00 PM. Some days will start earlier than normal and other days will go late. Some weekends, you’ll even find that you want to get some work done yourself  so that you don’t have a crazy week ahead. In a startup, you typically have more freedom, but with that freedom comes with high expectations of exponential value.

6. Replace short-term rewards for the longer-term payoff

It is common knowledge that building something great takes time. It’s also amazing to hear people say, “I was one of the pioneer staff at Uber,” or, “I was part of the first 20 at Microsoft.” In society, these early employees are praised and idolized almost just as much as the founders.

If you want to be part of that pioneer group though, you have to really come to terms with the fact that none of those early employees signed themselves up for a “job.” Most of them believed in the vision. They wanted to be part of the building process and bring the founder’s vision to life.

7. Be intellectually curious and willing to learn

Working in a startup can be hard because almost everything you do is the “first time.” You’re constantly in exploration mode, which means you’re probably going to be fumbling in the dark for a while.

A great startup employee thrives in this sort of high learning environment. They take it upon themselves to do some learning on their own without management having to necessarily push you. Independently identify resources needed to improve on existing skills.

“The best career advice I have ever gotten is to work for people who will help you grow.  The #WeStayLearning core value of SLA showed me a commitment to supporting my career growth.”- A She Leads Africa Employee Click To Tweet


Every day is a fire-fighting day for a startup. I have come to realize that both large and small companies will invest in team members who are ready to adapt to change with an intense sense of ownership over their responsibilities, and often beyond them as well. Be ready to bring something new to the table on a daily basis
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“I Learnt Perseverance After My Fire Accident” Meet Eco-friendly Entrepreneur, Chidiebere Nnorom

If there’s one thing Chidiebere Nnorom wants us to know, it is that she’s a typical Igbo girl with a never die attitude, never ever wanting to give up! Even after going through a rough patch, she refused to succumb and found her way back up.

Chidiebere Nnorom is the Co-founder of Paperbag by Ebees. She has a strong passion for the environment, social impact and business.  

Watch this space as Chidiebere is determined to change norms and make waves as an entrepreneur, environmentalist and a young global leader. Scroll down to read more of her story.


What’s your background story?

Before my business grew to the stage it is at now, I went through a lot! I was involved in a fire accident which kept me indoors for a while. I had to stop business operations and lay off staff. It was unbelievable. Imagine being at a point in life where you are clueless about what to do next. Well, that was me then.

It took me almost a year to heal. I couldn’t work or do anything. My savings had been zapped and I kept wondering how I’d scale through. There was a personal instinct to do something, I knew it wasn’t the time to give up but to breakthrough! I needed to turn the light on in my heart and that I did. 

To cut the long story short, the accident was a validation to move on. Months later, I picked up my business and started building up gradually. Next thing I knew, business calls were coming in! People said they saw the paper bag and wanted to order. Some of the paper bags they saw were made way before the accident. The referral rate was massive! I was so elated and grateful I didn’t give up back then.

What ignited the spark to start Paperbag by Ebees?

In 2016, we started off as a food delivery business but one of the problems we faced was the packaging, we just couldn’t find the right packaging. With a background in geography and my love for the environment, we decided to start creating eco-friendly packages.

There were a lot of “buts!” That was the year the foreign exchange was high, fuel scarcity and other things kept creeping in. We had to take a step back to think of how we could make it. My team and I carried out some research, tried out different products, monitored what was moving and what wasn’t. Everything was coming up gradually.

Before I knew it, we made it official!

 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

At the early stages, our major challenge was accessing raw materials in Nigeria. It meant having to buy in large quantities and also importing from China. We had other expenses to run the business and couldn’t afford it.

This caused a setback. We had to think of how to make it ourselves. We carried out some research and found alternative ways to come up with the resources. That was when we started the business for real!

Business development was our second challenge, it took us a while to see that the market was ready. We had to try out different products to see if the market will accept us. It was quite hard, to be honest. After a series of experiments and market research, we were able to count a milestone. Finally! We achieved growth.

These experiences really shaped our mindset as a company. To every business owner out there, celebrate your little wins! We count every little effort we make as a win and an opportunity to do better. I’m learning to take joy in the little things, every small success is a validation. I say to myself, “Chidiebere well done!” It tells me that every step I took at the time was worth it.

 

How do you come up with the designs on your paper bags?

I won’t take all the credit, I have a really good team. My own inspiration came from purpose. The point is, if we chase our real purpose there are things we won’t struggle to do. I found my passion, and everything fell into place.

Finding the right people who know what they are doing is key. I also took some time to learn product design. It’s a combination of all these things.

 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I was in paid employment and transitioning was quite drastic.

Take your time and plan! If you’re transitioning from paid employment to business, have enough money to cover up for your expenses. Make sure that the business can take care of your bills. There is no need to go through stress because you’re an entrepreneur, life can be easy!

An HR Executive’s Tips for finding a job during COVID-19

This is by far one of the most challenging times in history. Businesses are shutting down, people have lost jobs and finding a job is even more challenging than ever.

As we adjust to life during a global health pandemic, operations departments all over the world are looking for ways to stay lean to weather the storm. While this might seem scary as hell if you are trying to find a job now, the good news is that there are still a lot of opportunities out there.

As you try to find a job to help you move on to the next phase of your career during COVID-19, here are some smart things you should do.

1. Restrategize

When it comes to finding a job, it might be time for you to go back to the drawing board. Be open to roles outside of your current career path. Think about what you can do today, or in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. It’s fine to take a job outside of your field for a little while, especially if it means it’ll help your personal finances.

Expanding your scope of work may even make you more marketable when the crisis is over. Use this time to explore jobs you may have not considered in the past, and perhaps you’ll find opportunities you’d never have thought of.

finding a job

2. Pick and Choose Your Targets

I cannot overemphasize the importance of research. It is very important to keep up with the latest news on companies hit by the crisis. This may not be the best time to be targeting a job in the oil and gas sector or the aviation sector, for instance.

Find out which companies and industries are still in operation and may not have been hit as much by the pandemic. Top picks to focus on for me would be logistics, technology, food, entertainment and telecommunication industries.

It doesn’t matter how many jobs are or aren’t out there, you must focus on looking for the right one for you- Nneka Alfred, HR Manager at She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

3. Work Your Network

There is no better time to reach out to your network. You may have been in contact with a recruiter, co-founder, or business owner in the past but slowed down on conversations.

Now is the time to rummage through those business social media contacts and let them know you’re available. As a recruiter, I can tell you that during these unprecedented times, what matters is value. More than ever, we rely on referrals and direct candidate sourcing versus investing time/resources on probability.

finding a job

4. Consider Freelancing

Freelancing does not mean that you are not good enough or that you stop chasing a full-time job but you need to keep an open mind. Most companies would rather not commit to long term funded projects as there is no clear or specific timeline for when this pandemic will phase out.

You can get freelance gigs on African focused sites like NoSweat, Jobvine, CediJob, Hausbuddy. You can also check out global freelance sites like UpworkFiverr, and Solidgigs. You never know, your first paid gig could be one click away.

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5. Know the job description of the position you are applying for

Knowing more about the role helps you recall past achievements in previous jobs that align with the job description Click To Tweet


It is important that you study the job description to truly understand what the employer is looking for. This is extremely important. While the primary purpose of the job description is to detail the role and entice you to apply, there’s so much more you can do with it.

Knowing more about the role helps you come up with possible interview questions and recall past achievements in previous jobs that align with the job description. This is one of the easiest ways to ace your job interview.

6. Sell Yourself

Selling yourself involves you doing more than learning about the company. You’ll also need to also focus on the employer’s needs.

Learn how to talk about yourself in a meaningful and powerful way. Include testimonials or proof of past achievements to your resume, application, or professional profile. Your resume inspires any recruiter’s first guess, so you want to make sure it’s a compelling portrait of your strengths and skills.

The recruiter should not only see what you were responsible for but how well you did it and how you can make that success happen for them.

7. Ask for advice

We are humans, not robots. And when things don’t go as planned, we feel very sad. Reach out to colleagues, friends, mentors in similar sectors for moral support and practical advice on the best ways to land that job you seek. Be specific about the ways you want them to help you. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

8. Stay Positive

The most important thing when searching for a job in tough economic times is to keep a positive attitude. No matter how hard or how gut-wrenching these times are, my first order of business is to smack myself across the head with the simple message, “I will not give up. Caving in is not an option.”

Focus your energy instead on what you can control. Call that person at your dream company who is friends with your friend. Figure out how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. Take an online Excel course to shore up a required skill. Celebrate after each milestone to keep you energised.

Developing resilience isn’t easy, especially in these tough times. Pause, take a few deep breaths, meditate if you need to. But strap on your boots afterwards and find some new ways to muck your way to victory. You’ll find a job in no time!


Want access to more resources and articles to get you ahead in your career? Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org!

Hannah Olukoye: Working in Information Technology- My Perspective

According to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), only 25% of Information Technology jobs worldwide are held by women. Only 3% of those women are Black/African. There is a huge lack of diversity in the Information Technology Industry.

If you need an image of an African woman working in the IT industry, picture Hannah Olukoye!

Hannah Olukoye is a Kenyan software developer working in the IT industry. She is a graduate of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Actuarial Science.

She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Applied Information Technology at the African Nazarene University. Take a look at how her experience and expertise have opened doors for her as a Software Developer.

In the beginning, there were fewer women in IT compared to the numbers we see now. It was more male-dominated, especially in the local workplace. Click To Tweet

How did you get started in the Information Technology field?

I have always had a passion for programming even though I majored in Actuarial Science at the University. I started off with part-time courses in basic programming languages as soon as I graduated and combined that with a lot of online courses that were offered on free websites.

Information Technology, A group of people sitting at a table

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As an African woman, was it harder for you to enter the IT field?

I am lucky to be born in a country that believes in equality for both genders in education.

Only 25% of Information Technology jobs worldwide are held by women. Only 3% of those women are Black/African. Click To Tweet

In the beginning, there were fewer women in IT compared to the numbers we see now. It was more male-dominated, especially in the local workplace. I would be in teams where we were only two female developers and sometimes, I would be the only female Information Technology expert.

What changes do you foresee in Software Development across Africa?

I see tremendous growth in the number of women sticking to IT, especially when you look at programs like AkiraChix and GADS that are providing more opportunities for developers. These programs provide opportunities to not only learn how to code but also teach them how to make their work stand out.

Information Technology, A person posing for a photo

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I am now part of a team-building an Android application that will use machine learning, algorithms to provide solutions to health workers across Africa. I gained confidence in my knowledge through the community.

Would you encourage African women to pursue a career in Information Technology?

Yes, I would! Most women have a hard time being in the IT field because they are treated unfairly and even underpaid, compared to their male colleagues.

This causes many women to be unable to advance in their careers. One of my goals would be to attain more senior roles in companies or organizations that are leading in the Tech field and change the status quo.

How to find a job on LinkedIn

Need a new job?  Well in case you didn’t know, LinkedIn can be one of the best places to start. This is why we’ll be taking you through 5 major tips for how to find the job of your dreams on LinkedIn. Play your cards right and you’d be surprised when potential recruiters are the ones reaching out to you! 

Update your profile

Think of LinkedIn as an online CV but with more. Don’t hold back, use this opportunity to detail the work you’ve done and the skills you have. Apart from a brief summary of your work experience, have a LinkedIn bio that’s interesting enough to read through with hobbies and a bit of what you’re passionate about. 

Set up job alerts

You can set up job alerts on your career interests dashboard so that LinkedIn notifies you when a new job is open. With this feature, you can be one of the first to apply for jobs you’re interested in.

Build your connections

Be sure to connect and engage with things and people that interest you on LinkedIn. Following companies that you’re interested in and connecting with their employees and recruiters is always a good idea. 

If you have a list of emails of people that you have connections with offline, all you need to do is upload a CSV file of those contacts and LinkedIn will automatically send connection requests to all of them. This can also help to give your LinkedIn profile a little boost. 

Reach out

When you’re looking for a job on LinkedIn, you’ll need to reach out to recruiters in your choice organisations. One way to make this easy is to have a message template that you can tweak

Here’s a good example: 

“Hello Ms. Archer

My name is Lerato. My background is in software engineering. I’m exploring job possibilities and at this stage, am thinking that Maverick could be a fit for me because I can design systems exceptionally well. Can we meet for 15 minutes to discuss?

Recruiters are busy people so you want to make sure you give at least a week for a reply. 

Let Recruiters Know You’re Open

Showing your profile to recruiters is another great way LinkedIn helps you find a job. To do this, enable the open to job opportunities feature on your LinkedIn profile. You can also choose to opt in to appear in recruiter searches that match your career interests.

LinkedIn tries to protect your privacy by not showing your preferences to recruiters in your current organisation but you need to know that it’s not a 100% guarantee that you will not be visible.

That’s it! You’re now on your way to applying for the job of your dreams!

How to find a mentor online- without leaving your house!

Since Covid-19, we’ve all been in search of new ways to do things from the comfort of our couches. Figuring out how to find a mentor online can be a bit challenging because successful people are usually booked and busy but it’s very doable!

When you’re looking to find a mentor online, sending a bunch of emails or LinkedIn messages requesting that they take you under their wings may not be the best way to go. If you’re looking to have someone to mentor you, they probably get tons of similar requests every day. You’ll need a strategy that helps you stand out. 

Here are some hacks to help you find a mentor online and possibly a friend for life: 

Find relevant people

find a mentor

If you haven’t already, make a list of people in your field who inspire you. You can then boil it down to 3-5 people. When you have your list, make sure you find out as much about these people as you can. To find a mentor, you can also use the LinkedIn Career Advice feature, a great tool for finding new mentors. 

Make yourself visible

The next step is to make sure your LinkedIn is popping with your work experience and accomplishments. The CEO of a company is not very likely to reply to a message from an account with no bio and 5 connections. Apart from LinkedIn, you want to make sure your presence on social media is clean and reflects who you are in the best way possible.

Hit them up!

find a mentor

Now it’s time to send a message to your mentor. Don’t say who you are and then go on to ask for them to mentor you. What you want to do is show that you respect the work they’ve done and talk about how this has also impacted your own life, you can then go ahead to ask if they can help with a specific area of your career.

Once you do this, don’t forget to give a reasonable time for a reply, preferably a week. Make it easy for them to contact you by providing your contact information.

What can you do for them?

Don’t forget that mentors are people too so what you want to do is gain their friendship. One of the best ways to get a mentor is to build a personal connection.

Volunteer to help them with a project, help out with a cause they’re passionate about or offer to help with some research. You can even interview or write an article about them – this is a great way to get to know who they are and connect with them in the process.

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You can connect with Simi on Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT SIMI DREY

Simi Drey is an experienced multi-award-winning Broadcaster who has worked across media platforms in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria. 

With a First Class Degree in Broadcasting and Journalism from the University of Wales, she currently hosts the Saturday and Sunday morning shows on the Beat 99.9FM and on television anchors 53 Extra on African Magic.

Having won the Future Awards Africa for Best OAP (TV and Radio) in 2019, Simi Drey uses her platform to share her passion for entertaining and educating the youth; tomorrow’s leaders.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship means family. My friends are people who know me, they know my strengths, they know my weaknesses yet they still love me. 

They have been there for me and always will be at different stages of my life and I will do the same for them.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

There have been numerous occasions where my girlfriends helped me but the most recent would be Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi who nominated me for the OAP category of the Future Awards Africa. She did this without my knowledge and even when I won, she still didn’t tell me what she had done. Someone else informed me. 

Since then, winning the award has opened so many other doors for me such as being the Nigerian representative of a panel in South Africa, to discuss the role and emancipation of women in African society.

Can you tell us about a time when your friend (s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

In the first year of my career, while I was more or less fresh out of university, I did not know anyone in Lagos and I was hardly earning anything. I didn’t feel like I was making progress and I was extremely frustrated. 

During this period, I became friends with Dr Kemi Ezenwanne. She constantly encouraged me and prayed with me. She also helped me get a foot into the modelling industry which eventually brought about enough funds for me to move out of my aunt’s house, and rent my own place. 

Without her, I may not have continued pursuing a media career.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have three different power circles. One consists of four women including myself, the other consists of three people, myself included and the last, five in total.

I don’t think I chose them to be honest. I think we realised how much we had in common and we just ‘clicked’ as friends. However, they have remained in my power circles because of their loyalty and support throughout the years. When the world saw me as a nobody, they were there. We have grown together and stayed together through stages of our lives; school, employment, marriage, childbirth and even divorce. 

No matter what though, we see the potential in each other and we strive daily to bring it out. One person’s success is a success for the entire group.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

I think now more than ever, networking is much easier especially with social media. There are people I am friends with on Instagram for example that I had forgotten I had never met. 

However, because we talk a lot and exchange ideas, it feels like we know each other inside out. 

Social media networking can start simply by liking or commenting on a person’s picture. Search for someone in a similar industry as yourself or someone who has inspired you along your journey and send them a message. 

Don’t just write ‘hi’ though. Make it personal.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

Before I started working in Nigeria, my friend Deena and I auditioned for the X-Factor. Neither of us made it past the first audition. Along with our friend Sully, we thought we were going to become a successful girl band- Deena and I as the singers and Sully as a rapper. We never released a single together. Our dreams of a girl band were pretty short-lived. 

Fast forward and Sully is now a successful Investment Banker in London, I have become a multi-award winning Broadcaster and although Deena actually continued to pursue a career in music, she now has been booked for shows across Nigeria and the UK and her songs play on mainstream radio stations.


Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think the phrase ‘women don’t support women’ has been one of the most damaging statements for young women.

 I would say first and foremost, do not compete with other women. See them as allies. Celebrate their victories and try to lift them up in ways you can. They will do the same for you. 

Society is difficult for women generally but when we stand together, we have so much power.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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