In Summary

Class apart. The number of graduates is growing and jobs are getting harder to come by. Here is how you can avoid wasting your opportunities, writes Dorcus Murungi.

In Uganda today, the competition for jobs is tight; there are so many qualified graduates with no jobs and the jobs are also scarce.
However, if you land an opportunity, how do you set yourself apart? How will you convince the interview panel of interviewers that you are actually the best option for that job?
Audrey Faith Mugisha, a human resource manager at Right to Play International, says a job seeker may have an extraordinary cover letter and resume with impressive references but there are other candidates with comparable documents. What matters is how you set yourself apart from the competition.

“If you really want the job, you have to work hard and prove your worth, create an impression that will have all the panellists impressed and yearning to have you on their team,” she says.
Mugisha says many employers are looking for someone with a special talent. She advises people looking for jobs to be that person.

Ways to set yourself apart

Attach something unique to your documents
According to Scovia Kamwebaze, a communications officer at Finix International, it is important to go for an interview with something more than a CV and a cover letter.
“When I was interviewed for my current job, I carried a couple of articles I had contributed to the dailies. This helped the panel to notice my skill of writing, which was among the qualities of the person they were looking for. I do not think that if I had only gone with a CV and a cover letter, I would have convinced the panel good enough that I am a good writer as well,” she says.

Kamwebaze says the articles she carried along caught the hiring committee’s attention, confirmed her abilities and showed a level of drive and enthusiasm that none of the other candidates demonstrated, which helped her get hired.

Demonstrate your value
According to Juliet Mpiima of Vivo Energy Uganda, it is important for a job seeker to show some unique value that the company can get after hiring that particular person.
“Consider submitting additional documents that can demonstrate your value to the company. Think about what the company needs, and develop something unique around that. For example, you could develop a proposal for a new programme, an out-of-the-box marketing tactic, or a grant opportunity, the opportunities are endless. Simply use your knowledge of the company and your creativity to develop something relevant and realistic,” she advises.

Research about the company
Mpiima advises job seekers to always do research about the company before going for an interview. She says preparing for an interview, it is always important for a job seeker to find out what the company does, what needs to be done to better the company’s performance and how you can help the company towards achieving its goals.
“Let the panel notice that you have the potential to push the company to greater heights.This can only be achieved when you have prior knowledge about the company,” she says.

Create a portfolio of your work
Kamwebaze advises job seekers to build an online portfolio that employers can access immediately when they receive the application materials. She says with a country that is shifting to the digital world, it is important to be updated.
“When you create a portfolio of yourself, it becomes a tool that helps you land the interview, instead of something you showcase at the interview. An online portfolio allows you to include media that a traditional portfolio does not. Do you have experience developing proposals and securing funding for projects? Include a proposal, timeline, and photos or a time-lapse video of the project in your portfolio,” she advises.