They say that your experience is what, many times, gets you that job. But what happens when your experience is what causes you not to get a job?
Grace Gikonyo lost her job at the peak of the pandemic last year and had been looking for a job since then. Many times, she was told that she was overqualified. This almost led her to quit job hunting altogether and start her own firm, just to start using her experience and passion to do something she loves.
Then she was this PR job we had advertised for our client, Jiji, on one of our partner websites. She applied and got the job.
I had a lively chat with her on her journey – she mentions some tips not just for job seekers, but those that are also working.
There is a takeaway for you here…
Tell us about yourself
I am a Communication, Marketing, and Client Management Professional with a versatile skill set and experience in Public Relations, Marketing, Event Management, Customer Service, Written and Oral Communication. I’ve also received recognition in leadership, team management, and presentation skills.
How long have you been looking for a job?
Since May 2021, after I lost my job at my previous place of work. I got another job that was in Sales – something totally different from what I have specialized in but kept on looking for jobs. I did not want any employment gaps on my CV and wanted to remain relevant to potential employers. This is what I knew would work for me in getting back to my area of expertise.
Throughout your job search process, what was your experience been like?
It was hard. I lost my job around the time COVID had reached its peak in the country. People were not looking for employees. Those that were looking were startups that were not paying well.
It was quite challenging. Through the process, I decided to take my time and look for an opportunity that fits my needs while working as a business executive, as opposed to simply job-hopping.
Are there specific challenges you encountered in your job search process?
Oh yes, I did.
I would visit certain job agencies that were asking me to make a payment first. There were others who stated that if I got a job through them, my first salary would go to them. My concern was, my sweat for the first month would purely go to the agency and I would have nothing to look forward to.
Other employers would tell me that I was overqualified for the roles I applied for because of the experience that is on my CV.
At some point, I even thought of quitting my job search and just starting my own firm because I wasn’t working in the industry I wanted to and wasn’t using my experience and passion.
Where did you hear about Corporate Staffing and the job opportunity?
I had known about Corporate Staffing from the first time I was looking for a job a few years back, but I did not get it.
This was my second time. I came across the job opportunity on a different job board and followed the application instructions that led me to the Corporate Staffing website where I applied.
How was the application and interview process?
I went through five interviews. The first two were at Corporate Staffing, then I got to meet the client during the third interview, then the team at the company for the fourth interview, and finally, the country managers for the fifth and final interview.
At Corporate Staffing, the recruitment team got to know me. I knew that this job fit my skills. I’ve always been aggressive. If I want something, I see it and go for it.
Did you think you would get the job?
At some point, I knew I would. During the client interview, the interviewer said, “Congratulations for reaching this far.” She said it with so much certainty that I felt I was already there.
Then during the final interview with the country managers, they mentioned who they were looking for in a candidate and I felt that they were describing me. I felt at ease.
But, like any other test, you cannot say with 100% certainty that you are okay. I told myself that I may not be the best, but I felt I was giving my very best.
Right from the job description, to the tasks and the company, I felt I belonged – especially with my experience.
Congratulations on getting the job. What would your advice to other professionals be?
Before you apply for a job, rate yourself. I saw so many jobs but I knew I wasn’t prepared for the challenge they would present. So look at whether you match the skills. If you don’t, look for ways such as taking up training, to make yourself better.
Even for those who are working, look at jobs that you are targeting in the future, and prepare yourself through getting the necessary certifications.
Also, be patient. With COVID, many organizations have been restructuring and you might lose hope, but there are companies that haven’t been affected as much and are still looking to hire.N.B: 1.Dont Miss Out On Your Next Job. Let's Have Your CV. Upload Your CV Here. NB: 2. Advance & Grow In Your Career?. Check Out Best short Courses For You.