“Job readiness is often about going the extra mile to present oneself. Interest in a specific career field often requires one to build on top of educational qualifications by getting involved in activities that can enhance one’s skill set and gain experience.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, young professionals must find new ways to prepare for interviews, network and build a career, predominantly using virtual platforms. Mavis Elias is a U.S. Exchange Program alumna, internationally acclaimed public speaker, author and philanthropist from Namibia. She has extensive knowledge in career and personal development, and she provides advice on how young leaders can become job ready in a virtual-influenced environment.
Build a Professional Profile on LinkedIn
“In a world that is evolving virtually, the use of online platforms continues to be pivotal in building a professional profile. Having a LinkedIn profile is often underrated within young professional groups. Ensuring that one’s LinkedIn profile is both polished and actively used is important in a job search. Not only due to the range of job vacancies advertised on the platform, but also the ease of being able to connect with professionals.”
If you are interested in learning more about LinkedIn to build your professional profile, check out How to Use LinkedIn and follow the YALI Network LinkedIn Group to connect with other YALI Network professionals.
Seek to Build Employable Skills
“Employers are focused on what value a job seeker brings. Companies offer additional training to fill the knowledge gaps; however, there must be a starting ground. Present your qualifications, and in the case of entry-level young professionals, a depiction of involvement in extracurricular activities.”
One of the most common questions Mavis receives is, “What happens if I presently do not hold any experience?” Her response: “I often say that this presents an opportunity to seek out opportunities to build the lacking expertise. It is more rewarding to get involved in volunteer work to build skills than to sit outside of the playing field.”
Create a Professional Resume Using the “Ivy League Format”
Your professional resume must be efficient and clutter-free to capture the attention of a human resources professional. Use the “Ivy League Format,” a straightforward resume that outlines experience, educational qualifications, volunteer work and additional skills. HR professionals should be able to determine if you are the right candidate in one glance. For more information, watch Mavis’ Facebook workshop on resume building with U.S. Embassy Namibia.
Prepare for Your Job Interview
“Prepare yourself to answer questions about scenarios that would relate to the job. Present yourself well. Dress well. Show up with any supporting paperwork.” To answer interview questions, use the STAR approach (situation, task, action, result) to communicate direct and logical storytelling. View the video from Mavis’ workshop linked above for more details.
“Virtual interviewing can be a lot less intimidating, as it negates the traditional need to go to an interview in person, which can create pressure in trying to impress people as soon as one enters an office space. However, you still need to prepare as you would for an in-person interview. In the virtual interview process, there is the advantage of logging onto an interview and thereafter simply logging off. This has created room for people to apply for jobs across the world without the concern of travel. Take advantage of this opportunity.”
Visit Mavis Elias’ website for more professional development tips and attend one of her workshops at www.mavisbraga.com. Follow Mavis on Twitter at @MavisElias_.
Are you interested in building your leadership skills? Visit our YALIProfessionals page for more tools and resources to advance your career.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.