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Career Development Advice: Top 5 Pieces of Advice from Our #YALICHAT with Rafeeat Aliyu
October 30, 2017

Rafeeat Aliyu’s experience extends to both digital media consulting and writing, with additional skills in research and business development. She is currently working at her own business, AMDS Media, which provides research and communication assistance for individuals and startups. In a recent #YALICHAT, YALI Network members were given a chance to pose questions to Rafeeat about their own career development concerns. If you missed out on this #YALICHAT, don’t worry — here are her top five pieces of advice on career development we pulled from the session:

One Way street sign
Courtesy of Brendan Church on Unsplash.

How can I tell if I am on the right career path?

It is important to acknowledge how much you are able to grow at your current position. Rafeeat reminds network members: “Your time and money are precious.” When you realize that you have more to offer than what you are able to achieve at your current position, it might be time to pick up and find a new place to invest your effort, where your talent could be better appreciated.

What are steps I need to take when changing careers or courses?

Rafeeat advises those who are considering changing careers to start taking action the moment you decide you need to change careers. When deciding to do this, it is advisable to find a mentor in your new field. This person should help you make an easier transition and advise you on a specific plan you need to achieve your new career. She also advises to start working on pursuing your new career while holding your old job, if possible. This way you are risking less while still pursuing your passion.

How can one overcome fears associated with public speaking and presenting?

Practice is key to overcoming a fear of public speaking. Don’t only practice speaking to yourself; also make a point to practice in front of your family, friends and anyone else who will listen in order to become comfortable speaking in front of an audience. The more you exercise this skill, the more confident you’ll feel. Take the YALI Network Online Course lesson on The Art of Public Speaking.

How can I turn volunteerism into a useful contributor to my career development?

Ensure that you are partaking in purposeful volunteerism. Although you might want to continue volunteering for organizations that have no direct correlation to your career, consider adding on volunteerism with organizations and events that are directly related to the career path of your choosing. By doing this, you can still enjoy your passion of volunteering while working toward achieving your desired career goals.

What are ways I can develop skills I lack for a job I desire?

Online educational courses are a great tool for skill development. Additionally, if you are at a job, request working on projects that require skills you need to improve upon. This way you can gain useful skills while benefiting your company through your efforts.

Headshot of Rafeeat Aliyu (State Dept.)
Credit: State Dept.

Rafeeat Aliyu is a digital media consultant and writer with skills in research and business development. In 2017, she launched AMDS Media, an agency that caters to the research and communication needs of individuals and startups, primarily in the creative industries.

Previously, she served as head of content at She Leads Africa (SLA), a digital media company targeted at millennial African women. Prior to joining SLA, she worked with the content and business development team at the Nzinga Effect. As a freelance writer, she has written for a variety of publications, including Consultancy Africa Intelligence, True Africa, Mon Utopie Idéale Daily News, ThisisAfrica.me and Muslimah Media Watch, based on primary and secondary research. She received her B.A. (Hons) in marketing with French from the University of Hertfordshire and an M.A. in international relations (East Asia) from the University of Durham. Rafeeat is a published writer of fiction whose works have appeared in Expound and Omenana magazines, among others.

Do you have more questions for Rafeeat? Contact her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Interested in taking the next step with your business? Check out our #YALIEntrepreneurs page.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blog posts contributed by members of the YALI Network.