I wear 2 caps – Beauty Blogger and Marketing /PR Professional. In this article, I would like to put on my corporate hat and share a few key lessons I learned about job hunting in Ghana since I recently started at a new position at a Reputation Management Agency.
I completed my Master’s degree in the UK (MSc Marketing, Distinction) in September 2016 and graduated in January 2017. I returned to Ghana in September 2016 and did not find a job until April 2017, almost 6 months later.
Afterwards, I took a well-deserved break from September 2016 – November 2016 and took the time to catch up with friends and family I had neglected during my intensive 1-year programme.
In November, I began to send out emails to some of my past professional contacts and networks to let them know I was back in town and looking for a job.
Most of the responses I got were “No one is really hiring at this time of the year, it will be better to start in the New Year.” So I slowed down in December / early January / until I returned from my graduation and then I switched gears at the end of January.
I sent my CV and cover letter to any and everyone I knew in the industry and signed up and with some recruitment agencies.The most important point for me was that I did not want to get hired because of nepotism or as a favor. I wanted my CV and experience to speak for itself so that whoever was going to hire me would really see the value I would be bringing to the table.Figure out what career path you would like to take based on your personality, interests, likes and dislikes Click To Tweet
I went for a few interviews, but none of the positions sparked the interest I knew I needed in order to be happy with the job. Long story short, one of the professional contacts I got in touch with responded and let me know there was availability and the rest is history.
Here are 10 key lessons I have learned during the 6 months I was job hunting in Ghana:
1. You will be ignored and rejected
You will receive various emails saying – “I regret to inform you that your qualifications do not match our requirements at this time”.
Do not let this get to you, continue to prepare for individual jobs/interviews, make sure you know your strong points and are selling them to each company in the appropriate manner.
2. Experience matters
As much as you can, do not leave too many gaps in your CV as this puts many employers off. Try as much as possible to list your experience chronologically and continue to reiterate it in interviews. Sometimes, experience trumps qualifications
3. Figure out your Unique Selling Point
Figure out what your strengths are and when you have been able to apply them during your career. Focus on these points during your interview. Try not to be a jack of all trades, pick a few skills you have and build on them
4. CV matters
Your CV is the first impression your potential employer has of you, make sure to wow them. Keep the CV short and simple, with bullet points and short, sharp quantifiable experience.
5. You might start at the bottom
In Ghana, it is very difficult to start a job at the position you think reflects your qualification and experience. Be patient, give each challenge your all and you will be able to rise through the ranks quickly!
It is especially important that you let your potential employer know that you are looking to be promoted within 6 months during the later stages of your interviews so they are aware that you are willing to work hard. Don’t confuse starting at the bottom with starting with a completely different job in a different department.
The best example I can give for this would be starting as an Account Executive at an agency when you should actually be an Account Manager
6. Have patience and humility
During the time of your hunt, you are going to need to be extremely patient with yourself, with your potential employers and even with your friends and family who may be pressurizing you to look into other industries / other positions.
Stick with your goals and continue to work towards what you think is best for you
7. Keep an open mind
This is related to points 5 & 6 – keep an open mind with regards to different positions you might enjoy, timelines for hiring and even salaries. You might need to be a bit flexible in the first few months to ensure you get a position you enjoy
8. Connections and networks are important
These are not necessarily personal connections but it is advisable to attend industry events in order to generate strong networks you can fall back on when it comes to time to look for a job. Don’t ignore the power of LinkedIn!
9. You will be pressurized
You will definitely start feeling pressurized by your family/friends and even by yourself especially if it is taking a while to get a job. Stand firm in your beliefs and continue to re-evaluate your choices, keeping your goals in mind
10. Qualifications don’t always matter
Sometimes, your qualifications don’t always matter. You will see people in your position or higher who don’t have the same qualifications as you. That is fine as your education opens up your mind and allows you to think of solutions in different ways.
These qualifications may not necessarily matter on paper but they open your mind up beyond what it would have been able to process before you got the degree
My personal advice is to figure out what career path you would like to take based on your personality, your interests, your likes and dislikes and then find a position that is best suited for you.
It may not be a perfect fit but if it ticks 8 out of 10 boxes, then it’s a good fit. Stand firm in your choices; do not get swayed by others who may not necessarily know what your end goal might be.
Resources to check out for job hunting in Ghana
- African Bagg Recruitment
What key lessons have you learned from job hunting in your country? Share your experience with us here.