By Perminus Wainaina
There’s a common Swahili saying that goes ‘kutafuta kazi ni kazi,’ which in translation means, looking for a job is a full-time affair.
Whether you are employed and looking for a better opportunity or you are out in the hot sun and urgently in need of employment, your success will largely depend on your habits.
Wikipedia defines habits as a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.
Job search is like any other activity that requires a change in behavior or habits to succeed.
For example, if you want to quit taking alcohol, hanging out with friends at a bar is not a good idea. The temptation will be too much and you might end up consuming. If you want to lose weight and stay fit, you’d have to watch what you eat and also allocate time for exercises.
Success will only come when you make a decision and act on it.
So, what are some of the daily habits you need to cultivate to ensure you get a job fast?
1. Be Busy. Idleness can kill
Number one on the list of habits to eliminate when looking for a job is being idle.
I didn’t get a job immediately after completing my undergraduate studies. And the worst part is, I spent a lot of my free time idling. It was either the TV, visiting friends or relatives or other non-value adding activities.
I say non-value adding because what I was doing was not going to bring me closer to getting a job. The other problem with being idle is that you think a lot. And most of it is always negative. Negative thoughts affect your self-esteem as you start questioning yourself and wondering why things are not working out as fast.
For those working, you could be reporting somewhere but you are not productive with most of your time spent online or playing games.
Successful candidates are those that keep themselves busy by volunteering their skills, getting an internship or finding any other way to be engaged.
Get out and interact with the rest of humanity. You just never know. And always remember, that boss, best friend, spouse, etc was once a stranger.
2. Choosy Vs Knowing What You Want
There’s a big difference between being fussy and particular.
Fussy job seekers will only work for multinationals and other big top names forgetting that all of us cannot work for the UN, Safaricom, big banks, etc.
Fussy candidates will not work in a particular part of Nairobi. They will not take a job in the industrial area and mingle with casuals. Fussy job seekers only look at the salary forgetting that there’s more to a job than the net pay.
I have interacted with candidates who will not attend an interview at a small company because of an erroneous belief that the pay is low. As a recruiter, I know better.
They are some small organizations that you’ve never heard of in Nairobi that pay way well than multinationals and other well-known brands.
Be careful about being choosy as it narrows your options. You might miss a good opportunity.
3. They are consistent
Do you work with goals or simply go with the flow?
Successful candidates set milestones for themselves. Every day they dedicate some time to visiting job sites, sending applications, calling friends and family for introduction, talking to recruiters, etc.
It is not an easy task but day in and out they repeat the same process.
Even when the going gets tough they don’t give up. Compare this to a candidate who says that they are seriously looking for a job but only make one application now and then.
The probability of success is very low if you adopt a style of doing things only when you feel like. Look at successful companies like Safaricom. They advertise their services consistently because the minute they stop or assume that they’ve made it is the day we forget they exist and stop buying from them.
4. Personal Branding
You have to know what you want; your unique selling proposition i.e. that thing that makes you different from others. And more importantly, be able to determine what others think of you when they meet you.
You need to leave a positive impression of how you present yourself.
Personal branding goes beyond having nice clothes, shoes and a professionally done CV. It’s about your confidence. It’s how well you know your job, industry and the value you can contribute when hired.
Successful job seekers are confident and articulate.
5. Keep Learning
Most of the knowledge that I truly treasure is the one I have gained either through experience or by research. I am passionate about HR and every month I buy a book on HR related areas. And it pays dividends because whenever I meet clients, I am confident in my skills. And just like a knife, the mind needs sharpening now and then.
You do that by reading. Majority of us study because it’s a necessity. You study because you have a degree to pass.
However, I would like you to consider studying as a new hobby. Invest in your career and broaden your mind.
Apart from learning new and interesting stuff, you keep your mind engaged and out of harm’s way. Learning also makes you an interesting person as you can hold a conversation beyond the weather, politics or religion.
You also become an ‘ideas’ person and you never know whom you’ll impress with the information.
These five habits are by no means exhaustive. I’d love to hear what has worked for you. You can leave a comment below. It might help someone.