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.

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!

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!

The Millionaire Housewife’s rules for every side hustler

Whether you are looking to make some extra income or start a business while working, side hustling is no small feat. You must learn to balance your commitments, stay consistent and grow while you’re at it.

Temi Ajibewa, founder of The Millionaire Housewife Academy – an online platform that has helped over 5,000 women start their online businesses, shares her golden rules for side hustle success.


Rule 1: Discover Your Passion

Your passion could be an issue you feel strongly about or something you do effortlessly.

Side hustles based on passion tend to be more sustainable because you are self-motivated to go on even when things get tough.

If you are not sure what your passion is, here are 3 ways to get started:

  1. Look out for things you do well without incentives and recognition.
  2. Ask people who know you what they think you are passionate about.
  3. Consider problems people often ask you to solve because you find them easy to solve.

Rule 2: Turn Your Passion into Profit

Doing what you are passionate about is one thing. Knowing how to make money from your passion is a whole different ball game.

Here are 5 basic steps I teach my clients to monetize their passion.

1. Find the problem your passion solves

Your passion cannot bring you money unless it solves a specific human problem.

People may not pay you to get into heaven, but they will pay you to get out of hell – @temi_ajibewa Click To Tweet

For you to monetize your passion, you have to discover the hell your passion can get people out of. If you cannot find a hell, you might not have a monetizable passion. It is best as a hobby.

2. Find your money tribe

The next step to monetizing your passion is finding people who are willing and able to spend money on solutions to their problems. These people are your money tribe.

If you are not sure how to identify your money tribe, ask yourself this question – If I throw a concert, who will be first in line for tickets?

3. Turn your passion into a skill

To have a passion valued by other people, you must be able to do it competitively well. When this happens, your passion becomes a skill.

You can prune your passion by volunteering, learning through a mentor or taking online classes.

4. Create a product from your passion

Your passion must become a product or service for you to make money from it.

A great way to turn your passion into a product is by teaching people what you know for a fee. When I started to monetize The Millionaire Housewife Academy, I created e-books, DVDs and online classes to teach people what I knew about starting and growing an online business.

I always recommend starting off with digital products because they are easier to maintain and become lifelong assets people all over the world can buy.

People pay for products and services, not passions.

5. Promote your hustle

You must shamelessly promote your passion if you want to make money from it. 

You can’t afford to be shy if you want your passion to be more than a hobby. If you are nervous, start off by promoting your hustle to people in your network.


Price is only an issue where value is in dispute. Once people realize the value they’re getting from you, paying you becomes non-negotiable. It all starts with finding and monetizing your passion.

Learn more about how to start a successful online side hustle at The Millionaire Housewife Academy.

SheaMoisture Spotlight on Hospitality Queen: Frances Omanukwue – CEO Pro Event Hostess Hub

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Frances Omanukwue

Frances N. Omanukwue has over seven years’ experience as an Event Hostess and Event Coordinator.

She is also the author of “Becoming A Profitable Event Hostess” which is the first event hostess book in Nigeria.

After seeing the potentials in the event hostess industry and how young ladies can maximize this opportunity to be financially independent while bridging the unemployment gap, she started empowering young ladies through event hostess jobs.

To increase the number of young ladies who will benefit from this opportunity, Frances founded “The Pro Event Hostess Hub,” a social media platform to groom young ladies who will not only attain a level of financial independence but most importantly, will be hostesses that abide by the ethics of the industry.

Recently, The Pro Event Hostess Hub was nominated amongst the top 15 Most Creative Businesses in Nigeria by Global Entrepreneurship Network-Nigeria.

Frances interests range from entrepreneurship to volunteering. In her spare time, she loves to volunteer for many causes that cut across health and young women empowerment.

Frances tells us more about how she started providing jobs and supporting young women in her community.

Connect with Frances on her Website, Instagram, & Twitter…


How I started thePro Event Hostess hub…

After graduating from the university and not being able to find a job, coupled with encountering some financial challenges on the home front, I decided to look for ways to survive as well as support my family.

At the time, I started working as an event hostess which is what most people refer to as an usher.

As I grew in the industry irrespective of the setbacks, I observed how the money I earned over the years had helped my family especially my siblings in paying for tuition and fees, as well as sorting out their personal needs. 

With this realization, I started linking more young women within my community to event hostess jobs.

Over time, they’d come to tell me how the opportunity had helped them to pay for school fees or sort their other financial challenges in school, learn a trade and are about to start a business. Seeing the difference it made in their lives, I decided to take it more seriously so that by doing so, I can help other young women irrespective of their location.

How I’ve impacted my community since starting this business…

So far, I’ve been able to link more than 100 young women to event hostess jobs which they have used to raise money to support themselves in school, learn skills and start businesses of their own.

Some have also used this opportunity to learn skills that helped them get into corporate employment as well.

3 things I struggled with at the start of my business…

  1. Understanding how to structure the business: I struggled with this in the beginning but I started going for training and I have definitely gotten better since then.
  2. Training existing and new event hostesses: It wasn’t easy to convince them to go through the training process at first, but from the feedback and results of other ladies who have attended our training, others can now see the benefit of it.
  3. Business Acceptance: Initially, I struggled with convincing people to accept my brand. However, through constantly promoting our work, more people are starting to understand and value the importance and benefits of event hostessing.

3 interesting facts about myself…

  • I am naturally an introvert but people think otherwise.
  • I love driving and playing video games.
  • Learning about new things excites me a lot.

My fave skin, hair care product…

Shea butter

A message to SheaMoisture & She Leads Africa…

I am really excited and grateful to She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for providing a platform where women can showcase their businesses and how they impact their communities.

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


Sponsored Post.

5 Simple Tips To Improving Your Career in Any Sector

The fourth industrial revolution (4th IR) has many of us in a bit of a tizzy! Because we either do not know how we can keep our skills up to date in our various industry.

Or we are not sure whether we will have jobs once the full-on 4th IR movement takes over.

I would like to zone in on the financial sector, as we have seen cases of some big banks letting staff go in a bid to drive up efficiencies.

They also do this to give a customer-centric offering to their clientele and to meet their shifting expectations.

Gone are the days when your study designation has to be finance-related before you can get a job in the financial sector,

You can acquire both soft and critical skills in various other disciplines such as digital innovation, social media, digital marketing, communications, and PR.

In fact, the list is relatively exhaustive, a simple Google search should have myriad options pop out for you.

We are moving away from the era of traditional disciplines and working in jobs that require only one thing from you.

Now more than before, it works to your advantage to be savvy and knowledgeable in systems outside your focus area.

This not only makes you invaluable as an employee but challenges you to grow sis.

We are right on the cusp of digitization and the move for a business to be tech or digital-first, as more customers want to services rendered at the customer’s convenience.

Technological developments in the 4th IR do not necessarily have to translate into job losses and retrenchments in the financial sector, but rather encourage us to think about how we can collaborate and create better solutions to marry human activity with artificial intelligence.

As individuals, the following tips will ensure that not only do you remain competitive in your sector but that you are agile enough to move along with your organization as it expands and moves away from traditional modes of conducting business.

1. Never Stop Learning

You know that saying that says if you’re the most intelligent person in the room, move to another one?

You can never reach the point of ‘knowing it all’ continue advancing yourself and applying your knowledge base, even if it is through short courses. Stay learning, stay on top of your A-Game

2. Identify and Connect with Influencers in your Industry

Nothing beats learning from titans of industry. Identify someone within your business unit that you can shadow or learn on-the-job capabilities from.

This will put you in good stead should you want to take your shot at a different position within the team.

3. Show up for yourself.

Sis, be on time and put in the work. Most importantly, when you have gotten a seat at the table, make your voice heard, do not cower behind self-doubt or allow the dreadful imposter syndrome to cripple you.

Show up for yourself sis, be on time, put in the work. And most importantly, when you have gotten a seat at the table, make your voice heard, do not cower behind self-doubt or allow the dreadful imposter syndrome to cripple you.

4. Create a personal and professional development plan.

Ensure that you have your PBOB (personal board of directors) holding you accountable to keep on smashing those goals out the park!

5. Remember to self-care.

Everybody knows that fatigue ain’t one bit cute. Take time out to do things that rejuvenate your soul and genuinely bring you joy.

You can never underestimate the importance of rebooting in this fast-paced world that we live in.


Go out there babe, and be the corporate maven (or entrepreneurial queen) you know you are and secure the bag! Join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.

NNENNA OFOEGBU: 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING

Nnenna Ofoegbu holds a BA Hons degree in Public Relations and Communications and has recently started her own Events business.

She loves writing self-help themed articles and is a mentor. Nnenna is the founder of Yes You Can! A platform that inspires others to live a more focused, goal-driven life.

She also has a long-term passion for fashion accessories and has started her own fashion jewelry company called Exquisitely Yours London.

Nnenna is a huge advocate for giving up personal time for free in exchange for gaining valuable experience, knowledge and career advancement.

Through volunteering and interning, she gained some connections, opened doors and opportunities she would never have been offered otherwise had she not volunteered her time to work for free.

And that is why she thinks one should consider volunteering if they have never done it before. Whether you’re already employed in your dream job or you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first dream role.

It could be through a professional internship at a global organization or by volunteering in your spare time with an NGO.

There are many advantages to volunteering like being offered a job within the organization. Bringing your expertise in one area or learning a new skill in another area you’re interested in can benefit both parties.

You’ll also get to meet new people and expand your professional network.

However, opting to volunteer may not be a financially viable move for everyone. Although a lot of organizations can allow you to work remotely if you are expected to work from the office than expenses like travel and feeding may be left up to you to cover.

This can be off-putting especially if your finances are restricted, but there are ways around it. You could suggest agreeing to volunteer for a short period like two weeks for example, or on a part-time basis like one day a month. Do what works best for you. This will help you to limit your costs.

Nnenna Ofoegbu decided to #volunteer with a well-known charity to upskill her CV after being out of the UK jobs market for a year and not being able to land an interview. Read more… Click To Tweet

She was fortunate as the charity offered to reimburse her for her travel and feeding expenses, and she worked on a part-time basis of two days a week.

She thought it was going to be a piece of cake – oh how wrong she was! It was hard work and challenging. But she had a great mentor who helped her work on and improve her skill set.

It was all worth it in the end when she got to walk a well-known British celebrity down the red carpet at the charity’s annual awards ceremony and go to St James’ Palace for a private garden party.

There are some perks! So, why should you consider volunteering?

Here are Nnenna’s 5 reasons why you should volounteer.

1. Gain or improve an existing skillset

Taking up a corporate internship or volunteering with a social enterprise will give you the opportunity to level up your skillset.

Whether it’s your I.T proficiency or presentation skills, use volunteering as a valid way to learn something new or improve an existing skill.

Working with other skilled colleagues will also enhance your skills and improve your interpersonal abilities. 

Top Tip: Keep a list of any new skills you have gained both soft and hard as it will increase your market value.

By keeping a journal during your time volunteering you will be able to self-reflect on your personal and professional development.

Make sure you update your CV, as additional skills add value to it.

2. Shows ambition

Generally speaking, ambitious minded people are more likely to get ahead in the workplace. Whereas the passive and unassertive person tends to be overlooked for promotion.

Volunteering helps you to create the right impression within the organization. It shows that not only are you willing to give up your time for free but that you’re career-minded and take your professional development seriously.

It shows senior management that you’re focused, responsible and enthusiastic member of the team. It shows assertiveness.

Now all you must do is bring your A-game and add value to the organization by positively contributing to the team.

Top Tip: Set some goals or list the things that you would like to have mastered or achieved during your time with the organization.

Discuss them with your supervisor and come to an agreement on what support you will need to achieve your goals.

3. Improves your network

Volunteering can be a useful way of expanding your professional network. Get involved and try to participate with any department or team activities, social gatherings, and work meetings.

This is also a good time to look for a career mentor if you don’t have one already. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a senior manager.

It could be your co-worker or a colleague from a different team or department.

Top Tip: Add your co-workers and managers (if appropriate) on LinkedIn and ask them to endorse you.

4. Boosts your confidence

Not only will volunteering boost your skills, but your self-confidence will also benefit. It takes guts and tenacity to get out there and join a new organization as a volunteer.

It’s a positive achievement and something to feel proud of. It will make you feel good about yourself and confident in your capabilities.

Top Tip: Don’t feel undervalued because you’re not being paid a salary, rather see it as a chance to be a fly on the wall.

You’ll get to see behind the scenes which could inspire you to suggest some ideas like for a charity fundraiser or a corporate social responsibility activity for example.

5. Brings you closer to your dream job

Whether it’s your first role you’re chasing or you want to pivot into a new career sector through volunteering, it’s the sum total of all your newly acquired skills and connections that will bring you closer to where you ultimately want to go career or even business-wise (even if they don’t offer you a job at the end of it).

If you are looking for employment, then volunteering with the right organization certainly helps.

Top Tip: Add your voluntary work to your LinkedIn profile with any relevant links to the projects or work you’ve been involved in.

Volunteering shows potential employers you’ve got the initiative to do something constructive about your career path and sets you apart from those who haven’t volunteered. Read more Click To Tweet

Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

Navshika Beeharry: Adding accountability and value to foreign volunteering efforts in Africa

Navshika Beeharry is a British-Mauritian blogger, speaker, and interculturalist.

She shares her experience of volunteering overseas and advocates for intercultural awareness to be at the heart of charity and aid efforts to improve foreign assistance in the motherland.

In this article, she also provides consultancy for sustainability advice, strategy development and/or content creation.

Shika, as she is fondly called, believes it is important for NGOs to develop empowering stories of self-managed income/resources to challenge the mindset that success derives from external donors as opposed to the people themselves.

In 2015, when she returned home from a volunteer placement in Tanzania, she founded “Becoming Africquainted” as an initiative to candidly recounting the life-changing memories she made, including some difficult observations of when Western intercultural communication goes badly wrong.

Since then, it has grown into a platform of its own that provides discussion and resources to all aspiring volunteers or expats, encouraging them to undertake their service overseas responsibly and respectfully.


Shika on Intercultural Awareness

For Shika, intercultural awareness is an unmissable step that any foreign volunteer must be willing to take to better know their own cultural limitations and how to healthily navigate new ones.

However, this must be reciprocated by host communities within Africa too, by ensuring they take responsibility for their own narrative and how they wish for it to be told and remembered long after any volunteer exchange has ended.

It will take time to help visitors to form new associations of Africa they see, but the benefits to sewing two-way intercultural connections are fruitful and increasingly necessary for the prosperity of the interconnected world we live in.

Volunteer exchanges can be measured by the quality of relationships being built – @Shika_Bee Click To Tweet

To be a successful foreign volunteer, Shika believes it begins with an understanding of yourself / skillset and a genuine desire to be of service to someone. Such a person is often thought to be self-sacrificing with care for their wider community and an unrelenting passion to contribute to a cause bigger than themselves.

However, to be able to add accountability and value to foreign volunteering efforts in Africa, one needs to;

1. Have a good knowledge of the country and organization whose aims you would like to champion.

Each summer in Africa, this ‘higher cause’ has all too often displayed itself as ‘saviourism’, ‘privilege’ and ‘Western ideas’ – to name a few.

What usually begins as a selfless summer trip quickly manifests itself into self-serving behavior when culture shock takes over, conditions become unfavorable to live in and personal expectations are not met.

These circumstances fuel a type of instinctive desire to fix things that do not exist ‘back home’.

Though the intention may come from a good place, the means by which it is executed becomes misplaced and frequently results in misunderstanding and conflict.

Why?

A lack of intercultural awareness. A large number of young people in the West – diaspora included – are conditioned into thinking that volunteering overseas is a worthy extra-curricular life experience or a means of personal development.

These reasons are problematic because they refer to an underlying tone of personal gain that volunteering is based upon.

The emphasis is rarely ever to learn about culture itself – something which really should underpin any healthy volunteer exchange.

2. Acquire traits that enable you to observe, recognize, perceive and positively respond to new and unfamiliar intercultural interactions.

Some markers of intercultural awareness within international development are:

  • Humility – being receptive to, and accepting of, new and unfamiliar situations
  • Patience – in recognizing that positive outcomes take time to reveal themselves
  • Humanity – acting humanely with a trusted concern for the community being served.

These traits are not something we can quantify or expect anyone to learn quickly in a crash-course.

But volunteer exchanges can be measured by the quality of relationships being built, along with their participation and respect for our cultures once they arrive.

One indication of this lies in how well volunteer behaviors are recognized and reciprocated by the communities which they serve.

3. Volunteers should be given guided self-reflection time.

This is to serve like one-to-one inductions in a paid workplace where their observations and experiences are discussed to foster a dialogue which enables them to explain their realities so that they can be better understood.

Doing this not only prevents them from distancing themselves from problems they see by claiming ignorance, but it also provides a space for healthy goals to be set, contributions to be assessed and accountability to take place.

This is important to help redefine the negative African post-colonial perceptions that many foreign volunteers have unconsciously grown up with.

After all, what better way to rewrite the story than if told it ourselves to those who do have a desire to listen, by virtue of visiting the continent first-hand?

A good start for non-profit-organisations is to offer their own guides into standards of behavior that outlines an interpretation of volunteer ideas and expectations during their stay.

This formalizes the process whilst mitigating the risk of volunteers unhelpfully referring back to their (often biased) perception of problems and methods of solving them.


Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

Top 5 technical and practical skills you need to land a job in the Communications Industry

Because I know how to write convincingly, speak in a clear, concise and catchy manner and make pretty lifestyle aesthetics— I made £800.00 one week in one of Africa’s poorest capital cities — Freetown, Sierra Leone.

As long as capitalism reigns free— the comms industry will always be hiring! The word “communications”, is a broad umbrella term for many specific roles and jobs that all revolve around conveying information.

If you like to talk a lot, love pretty looking things, and a fast-paced lifestyle— this sector is for you!

It’s the digital golden era, and many African millennial women are turning to this sector. This is an industry that underpins the side hustle of many resourceful sisters with a side hustle.

From selling home-blended essential oils on ‘the gram’ to vlogging about sexual and reproductive health.

According to Biz Community Africa, trends in advertising across the continent show an increase in market competition across African markets. Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast have joined South Africa as large regional advertising hubs.

And though the rise of middle classes across the continent remains contested, the market strategy has been heavily sought after in the telecommunications, financial, FMCG and transportation industries.

Despite literacy and digital literacy rates varying greatly across the continent— the comms industry is on the rise!

The communications industry spans a wide range of sectors including television, film, radio, media and digital design, marketing, advertising, branding, public relations, and promotions, publishing, journalism, consulting and more recently social media.

There are broad communications skills that every communications professional should have to be successful in each of these sectors.

And, there are also specific technical and practical skills that will set you apart from others when applying for jobs in specialized departments at corporations, consultancy firms, creative agencies, government ministries, NGOs and all other organizations that have a communications department.

Here are five skills, I’ve found essential for a comms professional in Africa— specifically if looking to focus on marketing, branding, and advertising.

Market analysis and strategy

If you can evidence this on your LinkedIn and CV then you’ll get an interview. Companies want to know that you understand that the main reason they even have a communications unit— is to sell things!

You are essentially the new fancy term for a marketer! Since door-to-door sales do not work anymore, you need to find out what does!

Market analysis means knowing your target market, analyzing their consumer behavior and their psyches, and then developing strategies to make them believe they need to buy into the lifestyle and ethos (the brand) of the company.

If you can throw around the term ‘customer psychographics’ and actually know what you’re talking about, then your interviewer will hire you! To develop this skill you can take an introduction to marketing class on Coursera. No funds? No problem! I once took a class for free on Coursera by applying for their course scholarships.

All you have to do is fill out a form that states you’re “kinda broke right now, that’s why you need courses and a job”, and through this form, you’ll be applying to take a course on Coursera for free. Good luck.

The ultimate wordsmith

A comms professional is ultimately someone who can convince men to buy tampons, using three words. If it’s in marketing, publishing or PR— you’ve got to be able to create and/or spot powerful work that will have your desired impact on audiences.

Basic rules for writing include: know your medium (are you writing for TV, radio, social media, an advertisement, a sales pitch, a newspaper?), know your audience, and lastly— be clear, concise and striking.

There are a million ways to write a million things, that fit into the right boxes for the right type of comms. When you decide what your niche of comms is— take the correct writing class for it!

Whether you are pitching, writing or selling— your job is to tell a story. So tell the best damn story there is!

Basic media design skills

Today everything is digital. Everything is visual and everything is about aesthetic. Design is key, especially with the rise of social media.

When starting off as a comms officer, assistant or freelance consultant, you will not have the budget nor the authority to outsource to a creative agency.

This is not relevant for working in PR, nor radio— but in the world of advertising and branding, you will first have to make various media content yourself. Basic free online software like Canva and Mavis should be good enough to start with.

Of course, you will need a decent enough camera, but luckily these days everyone has a smartphone! Most smartphones today have cameras that can substitute for a DSLR and can download multiple media editing apps.

Wipe your camera lenses, download a bunch of apps, gather a wealth of media content of the specific things needed for your industry (e.g. a bunch of foodie pics, or the hottest tourist spots in your city, or natural landscapes)— and develop a website (use Wix) or some social media platforms— may be even a podcast!

You can submit this with your CV to work in the following roles: the communications officer for the ministry of tourism in your country, the contributor of an online art and culture journal, or the strategic communications assistant at a company/creative agency.

For those looking to go into something highly specialized like graphic design, you might want to take an online or university course on Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Companies and creative agencies are always looking to hire graphic designers (freelance or in the house) and this is usually a fun and exciting job.

Creativity and originality

Know your country, know your industry, know your market— then do and be different within context!

Remember you can be a comms professional within any other industry from agriculture to mining, financial/banking, government, or retail. The industry you’re in will most likely have an institutionalized way of reaching its target demographic.

When you enter the comms industry, you have to know everything that's already be done and use this to your advantage. Learn more… Click To Tweet

You can build on existing successful methods, but it is always worth it to people who go the extra mile.

Make sure your company is doing something new. It can be something as simple as using focus groups for market research (not a lot of African markets do this), or something like tapping into a new market that your competitors don’t traditionally consider.

This will give you a total market share of a whole new (and seek large) consumer base. But make sure that you know why your company can target this market, despite others in the industry have strayed from it.

To be creative and original, try to see an opportunity to communicate via everything in your daily life— use poetry, use construction workers, use sign language—  the street hawkers, the schoolboys always playing football, and the grandmothers always dressed in grand booboos and Prada sunglasses (but play Jay-Z in the background).

Sometimes, those who don’t usually get airtime, are the ones who attract the most attention on the screen, when communicating corporate messages.

Indulge your quirky thoughts!

Self-confidence and discipline

Comms professionals tend to be bubbly, extroverted, naturally talented multitaskers who crave exciting work filled with high salaries, travel, and adventure.

All this can be yours, but you have to understand office politics and competition— and protect your magic!

This is a cut-throat industry wherein you can be here today and gone tomorrow. But it’s also one of the most fun and rewarding industries to be a part of.

If you’re going to climb your way to the top and live your best life when you get there— you have to be bold and believe in your light!

You have to keep tight schedules and make multiple lists of tasks to achieve. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals— and hold yourself to each task.

In the world of comms, where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Do you want to be the next Bozoma Saint-John?

Well then, you’ve got to believe in yourself and work even harder than she does!


Need some more FREE downloadable guides from SLA? Click here.

YALI taught me not to limit myself: Sthabile

Sithabile seeks to impact her community by fulfilling her dreams and goals.

She has managed to do so by establishing several projects such as..Langa – for rabbit and chicken rearing, Buffy Bakery – for commercial baking and currently working on an initiative called “Women in Wildlife Conservation”.

Her main interest in impacting communities is through mentoring youths and helping them in achieving personal goals for their lives and their contribution to social development.

In this article, Sthabile highlights how she’s developed herself personally and professionally, through leadership programs.


As an entrepreneur, what key strategies do you think are vital to running a sustainable business?

I founded ‘Langa Farm Produce’ after more than a month of always running to the banks looking for a start-up loan to start raising rabbits and free-range chickens.

The terms and conditions for that time to get the loan were unfavorable. I remember some words from one wise lady who said:

“You need to start small and build from there, and have a small project on the side as well that will enable you to get a $1 a day to inject into the bigger project”.

This is how I started baking commercially (start of Buffy Bakery) and with the profits made, Langa was started with just 3 rabbits and 20 free-range chickens. To-date we have managed to supply city butcheries and Langa has become self-sustainable.

The initial bigger project was Langa because the aim was to go international with the rabbit products. But Buffy Bakery got bigger as well through an increased clientele and high demands hence the need to also start mentoring and training young ladies and interested personnel.

It was through these projects that I realized that there is no such thing called a ‘small project’ but it’s up to you to view it as small or big.

To remain competitive in whatever industry they decide to venture in, be creative and innovative in your work.

Offer something different from the rest of the industry. Love and appreciate your work for people to appreciate it as well – Sthabile Click To Tweet

Don’t just do it for money.

What made you apply for the YALI leadership program?

I knew YALI to be a professional platform where individuals are able to mature, develop and acquire skills that will benefit them in skilfully contributing towards the development of their communities, nations, and Africa as a whole.

By continuously following their programs on social media, I was keen to be part of their program and learn more about how best I can impact my community and network.

So I applied for the Cohort 17 program under Civic Leadership track.

What skills did you learn there and how will they help you?

I was under the Civic Leadership track – a program on how to impact our communities by being the change we want to see.

It focuses on improving the quality of life in our communities by identifying gaps and problems already there and using skill, knowledge, and values in tackling them and making a difference.

I obtained vast knowledge on the establishment of civil society organizations; proposal writing for projects and grant funding obtaining. Two major things I learned were:

1. How to run a business

YALI taught me the power of networking and partnerships.

In all that you do; you need people to work with; you can never work alone. A business is not for me nor my family but my community.

For me to be successful in whatever business I want to venture or I am in; the first question I should ask myself is how best will my community; a nation and Africa as a whole benefit from it and does it address the gaps that already exist in my community.

And to change our communities we need to share our skills and knowledge; build partnerships and network.

The depth of the knowledge I gained will allow me to achieve one of my goals I have had establishing a wildlife program mainly focused on resuscitation of idle parks and involving women in wildlife conservation.

As one of my previous challenges was obtaining funding for these projects; through YALI. I also learned the proper way of writing Grant/Fund request proposal.

2. Personal development

YALI taught me not to limit myself. To think of what happens when the vision and the goals are fulfilled; to ask myself “so do I just stop there because it has been fulfilled?”

I used to think maybe I am just doing a lot of projects at the same time and there is no way I will be able to tackle them all.

But through YALI I learned the power of building a team that shares the same vision with you; that will enable you to build the foundation and the groundwork that is needed and move on to the next thing that needs to be done.

I learned to be confident not only in myself but my work as well so as to be able to present and articulate it well to interested groups.

My advice to other aspiring game changers…

Decide to start and stand with your decision because the environment will never be conducive for you to do so.

Put your all into it; it doesn’t matter how many times you fall; rise up, dust yourself, learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Build before you can start putting profits in your own pocket but above all; give back to your community.

What challenges have you faced and how have you tackled them?

My main challenge faced was getting start-up capital – Sthabile Click To Tweet

But we didn’t let that be a hindrance in achieving our goal. For these two projects, we had to start with what was in our pockets and a few resources.

Every profit we made was put towards building these projects and seeing them come to life.

Right now Buffy boasts of having a vast number of equipment attained through profits, and some of its profits were put toward Langa till it became self-sustainable.

For Langa, our greatest challenge was a continuous price hike of feed for both chickens and rabbits.

With the realization that the expenses were now too much, we began to grow our own feed, collect greens and seeds from the bushes and the market; and that reduced costs of buying feed.

Another problem we faced was the harsh hot weather conditions that affected and killed some of our rabbits.

Unfortunately, we could not contain that one and it resulted in a bad financial loss.


2 ways to prepare yourself for the real world – while in the University

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

A few years to complete Uni. You feel the excitement.

Someone once told me “the real world begins after Uni”.

I was too busy attending classes and meeting new friends that I didn’t stop to ponder over the words. I always thought Uni was hard.

From initial registration at the beginning to semester registrations, departmental registration, to hall registration and all that. It’s stressful.

Then you have to attend classes, write exams and do all those presentations and assignments. God help you if you have a project to defend.

You have to worry about the trips you’ll make to your supervisor’s office before it’s accepted.

I wish someone told me how well to prepare before graduation. I wish someone touched on the salient skills you have to learn before facing the real world.

Here are two things to focus on while you’re still in uni to prepare yourself for the real world:

1. Gain some useful work experience

I bet you saw this coming. You had to! I mean this a no-brainer.

How do you spend your semester holidays? Binge watching? Going on a shopping spree? Visiting old friends and relatives who don’t even ask about you? Traveling?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against treating yourself right or spoiling yourself once in a while. And I value time spent with family.

However, your University days (and particularly the holidays in between semesters) is a perfect time to gain some work experience in your chosen field.

Whether it be assisting in an office or a short internship, it will always make your CV stand out among other, experience-less graduates.

My first internship was at level 300. It was a one-month thing at a Radio station.

As part of their anniversary, they were having a health month so my job was to look for health snippets to be aired. Anything from eating, exercising, dieting, stress.

I wish I had gotten more experience while in Uni to prepare me for the real world.

I remember a lady telling me in our final year that she never interned before. I’m like well, I’m grateful for my one month.

But here’s the thing, some people focus on the money that they rather wait till after uni and get a paying job than spend 1-3 months of their holidays working somewhere where they might never get paid.

See it as an opportunity because that’s what it is. Most interns don’t get paid but if you do find a place that pays,  hallelujah!

If not, seize the opportunity, work on yourself, build yourself, network, improve your skills and who knows they just might be a position waiting for you after graduation.

2. Take some time to carefully consider your options

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

For most graduates, that’s the very obvious path. But for others, they’re looking to start their own business, head back to the University to bag a Masters and doctorate degree or go into freelancing.

Weighing up these options can take some of the pressure off, and make sure you’re making the right choice in these crucial first post-uni steps.


Have you thought of what’s next for you after Uni?