Set SMART Goals Or Fail Miserably!
Did you know that in experiments with lab rats, scientists found that when rats are running towards food, they run faster as they get closer to the food? Source: 'Brainfluence' by Roger Dooley.
What does this mean for you?
If you give yourself short-term goals and rewards, you will work towards them with more zeal and enthusiasm than longer term goals.
For your goals to be meaningful you need to make sure they are SMART:
"I will start writing a book" is not a specific goal.
"I will start writing a book on saving and I will finish it within 6 months" is a specific goal. You can make it even more specific by stating how many words or chapters you will write per week, e.g. 2,000 words per week.
What is your specific goal?
Measurability is all about being able to account for whether or not you have made progress. Continuing with the example of writing a book, if a month later you have only written 4,000 words then you can say you are running two weeks behind schedule.
How are you going to measure your goal or goals?
If you set a goal that is very hard to achieve you'll probably give up. For example, "I will go to the gym every day," is probably not an attainable goal if you work 5 days a week. "I will write 1,000 words every day," is also not attainable if you have a full-time job. It is very hard to write 1,000 good quality words in one evening after a hard day at work.
Is your goal overambitious? Can you achieve it without feeling like you are suffering or giving up too much?
In my opinion this is the least important criteria in the SMART schema.
Relevance is about focus. A goal should fit within a bigger picture objective. For example, if your goal is to be a world class writer then having the goal to play 5 games of chess a week for a year may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Time-specific but it probably isn't relevant to being a writer. It might be relevant to your relaxation goals but it certainly isn't relevant to writing.
Are your financial goals relevant?
A goal means nothing if it doesn't come with a deadline. Deadlines are crucial when it comes to achievement. Due to circumstances you might have to adjust your deadline but not having a deadline to begin with is pure folly.
Are your personal financial goals SMART?
Your financial goals do not have to directly involve “making money” right now. Just make sure you incorporate the SMART format. Financial goals can include:
· Projects that may lead to money in the long run (e.g. learning a new skill).
· Saving targets (e.g. making your own to take work so that you don't have to spend money buying lunch from restaurants).
· Getting into the habit of writing shopping lists so that you don’t buy things you don’t need.
As you create your goals think through the following:
· How do you waste money on a weekly basis?
· What financial bad habits would you like to get rid of?
· What things do you spend money on that you can do without?
SMART goals in other areas of your life
You can apply the SMART system to any goal system.
I’ve found that when my goals are not smart I am less successful. For instance, I set out to lose 3kg in Jan-2013. Result? By Dec 2013 I had gained 5kg! The goal was not SMART. So, in Jan-14 I set some weekly targets and rewards and I have already lost 3kg! I love SMART goals.
“Goals are dreams with deadlines." Diana Scharf
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
You would be forgiven for believing that buying shares is a get-rich-quick scheme. In recent years in Malawi shares have been heavily underpriced when they’re brought to market in an initial public offering (IPO); this means that there have been more people wanting to buy shares than there are shares available.
What happens when demand is so high relative to supply?
If a company wants to have 100,000 shares listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange they would offer them at a fixed price. If they receive demand for more shares than this the price will stay the same and the number of shares also stays the same so some people don't get any or get less than what they want.
Note that if there is a "greenshoe option" in the share offering documentation then they can issue up to 20% more shares but they cannot change the price once orders are being received.
Once the offering is closed the shares become available to buy and sell on the open market. Those people that didn't get as many shares as they wanted are free to buy from those that did. What's the result of this? An increase in share price.
Basic economics dictates that when demand rises, prices rise. So after a share offering that has been underpriced it is not uncommon to see the price shoot up. I heard of one woman in Malawi borrowing money to buy shares in an IPO and then selling them within a week with enough profit to buy a car AND repay the lender!
By the same token, however, once the initial buying and selling frenzy is over the share price settles down to an equilibrium price. Once the share price reaches this level it can stay there for a prolonged period of time because, for the most part, the share dealing market in Malawi turns over very low volumes.
If you bought when the market was high you may have to hold onto a loss position for a long time.
Secondly, shares may come down in price because a large shareholder decides to sell. For instance when the Malawian economy is doing badly large international shareholders cut their losses by selling their entire portfolio.
What should you do if you're in a loss-making same position?
1. If you don't need the money immediately and believe that the company will recover, hold onto the position until the shares move up in price. The Malawi Stock Exchange can email daily or weekly updates to you so you can keep up to date with pricing.
2. If you think the company is definitely on its way to financial ruin, cut your losses and sell. It's better to recover some of your money than to lose all of it.
When you’ve been holding a loss-making stock for a while the temptation to sell the moment you see a slight recovery in price is very high but try to be as rational as possible:
I bought Apple Inc. shares at $78 in 2006; in late 2008 / early 2009 the share took a beating and was treading well below previous highs of $200. I decided that I would sell my position as soon as the stock price hit $280 and that’s what I did feeling very proud that I had more than trebled my money since 2006 – I have lived to regret the decision ever since: the share price continued its upward streak for years and traded as high as 700 in late 2012!
"When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever." Warren Buffet
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
A “share” is a unit of ownership in a company.
The Malawian Stock Exchange is different to many international stock exchanges in that it’s still not automated to the extent that it could be. It involves a lot of manual inputs and transactions are still very personal, one-on-one.
When a company lists on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSEX) they offer the market a fixed number of shares at a given price.
People who want to buy the shares and hence be part-owners in the company submit their firm interest by stating how many shares they want to buy and provide a cheque to that value.
If Mandasi Okoma Ltd decided to list 100, 000 shares at a value MWK500 each it would mean the company is valued at MWK50,000,000 (100,000 x MWK500).
If you wanted a 0.1% ownership in the company you would buy 100 shares. Those 100 shares would cost you MWK50,000 (100,000 shares x 0.1% x MWK500). You are now one of the owners of the company. So, how do you make money? There are two ways.
Firstly, periodically the company shares some of its profits with its shareholders via the payment of a dividend. When you work, you earn a salary; when you lend, you earn interest; as a landlord you get rental income and when you buy shares, you earn a dividend.
This then becomes an (additional) source of income for you. Some retired people in the developed world with large, well-diversified portfolios live primarily off dividends with no need for another source of income. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Secondly, you get capital growth. What does this mean?
If the company you have invested in does well, that is, it grows its customer base and starts to earn more revenue then it becomes more valuable.
In the above example the company starts off with a value of MWK500 per share. If the value increases over a period of time to say, MWK600 per share, then your MWK50,000 investment becomes worth MWK60,000. You make a profit of MWK10,000. You can “realize” that profit by selling your shares.
What are some of the issues you might encounter in dealing shares?
1. You don't get allocated as many shares as you want.
If there are more people wanting to buy shares than the number of shares available then you might not get any shares at all or you'll get allocated less than what you tendered for. The company selling 100,000 shares may get payments equivalent to 200,000 shares. We say the share offering is “oversubscribed” to define this situation of excess demand. In that case, the company’s investment bankers might give everyone half of what they asked for. However, that’s not usually how it works.
If the share offering is "oversubscribed" those that want a small amount will normally get all they ask for and big tickets will get cut by a large amount.
Why does this make sense?
Large shareholders carry a lot of power: they have more influence on corporate policy and if they decide to sell their holding all in one go, they would cause the share price to fall by a large amount. No company wants this; they would rather have many small shareholders than a few large ones.
2. Share prices can go down as well as up.
This is probably the biggest problem you'll face. When you buy shares and become a part owner in a company you can lose all your money. If something goes wrong lenders, such as banks, are paid back first and if there's nothing left to pay the shareholders then so be it. We'll discuss this in more detail next week.
"Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don't forget rule No. 1." Warren Buffett
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
Many a businessperson has made this error: buying second-hand (or used) products that later fail to meet expectations.
Indeed, the temptation to go second-hand is high; more so if there is a large difference in price between the first-hand (new) product and the second-hand equivalent.
I've decided to dedicate an entire article to this topic because this is one of the lessons my father impressed upon me at a very young age. He said, "Heather, when I first went into business I bought second-hand machines and I lived to regret it."
I'm not sure what the negative experience he had was but it must have been pretty bad because he seems to be near-allergic to second-hand things now. He thinks it's better to buy cheap but brand new clothing rather than designer labels second-hand.
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't fully take this advice on board: when I bought my first car I got a second-hand Peugeot that had 5,000 miles on board. The result, ndinachimina!
The car looked great on the outside and on the inside but little did I know that it had been involved in an accident only months earlier and after I bought it, the car blew a gasket within a couple of months. I paid to have the problem fixed. A few months later, it happened again!
These problems could have been avoided by buying brand new. I'm not saying that good quality second-hand products are not available, what I'm saying is they're hard to identify. I fell for that car because it was very well priced forgetting the old adage, "if it's too good to be true, it's almost certain that it is." But, how would I have known it was too good to be true? I wasn't a car dealer and I hadn't hired an expert to help me vet the car.
Indeed, if you're starting a new business it's impossible for you to know the type of problems an old machine might present. With a new machine you have a manufacturer's warranty to lean back on including the promise of parts if something breaks within the first twelve months.
If you're working and running the business part-time you'll probably be able to recover from buying poor quality machines but why walk into that problem in the first place?
What if you really can't afford to buy brand new, i.e. what if you definitely don't have the money and no-one will lend it to you? Well, reluctantly, you'll have to go for the second-hand inputs. I recommend that you:
· Tread with caution.
· Don't make the decision alone.
· Do lots of research.
· Get the machine properly inspected by someone in the know. If this is not possible then share the data you're using to drive your decision with an objective and intelligent associate and see if they agree with your purchasing the said machine.
In summary, to start your business on the right footing: buy first hand machinery, period!
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” William A Foster
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
Once you decide on a business idea to push forward the next question becomes – how do I make this happen? If your idea requires specialized equipment the best place to source it is probably through the commercial merchant site alibaba.com. In this article I will explain how you can get good quality machinery at a good price.
In one of my earlier businesses I sourced a machine very cheaply and got it imported into Malawi without ever speaking to the manufacturer on the telephone or even ever seeing him!!
Are you shocked? Don't be.
I have been chatting with suppliers based in China on and off since 2009 to get quotes for goods that I’d like to produce. The most important thing I’ve learnt when it comes to communication is that email is MUCH less complicated than speaking on the phone. The Chinese supplier can't refer to a phone conversation later whereas emails can be easily reread; this avoids massive communication breakdowns and ultimately mishaps.
I don't remember exactly how I initially found the alibaba.com but it is a treasure trove for someone wanting to source a product or mass produce a new design. There are thousands of suppliers for everything so going through the vendor profiles can take ages.
Once you engage a supplier you will receive an email response to your inquiry from their business email rather than via alibaba.com so you don't have to worry about engaging a supplier and then having them disappear.
These are my top tips on sourcing via alibaba.com:
1. Keep it simple
Send emails in very simple language with a lot of detail so that it's very clear what you are trying to achieve.
2. Do not use SMS/text message shorthand at all.
If someone is using a translation device (which many suppliers on alibaba.com do), a wrongly spelt word won't be found or worse, it will be mistranslated. Even abbreviations like “don’t” should be avoided in favour of “do not”.
3. Ask a lot of questions.
This is necessary to ensure that you and the supplier fully understand what it is you want to buy.
4. Get a sample
If possible, get a sample sent to you before you make a large order. Even if you have to pay a couple of hundred dollars it is worth it. You might think that's too much but think of it as saving yourself thousands rather than losing hundreds. If you make a $5,000 order without seeing a sample, and find out you don't like the product, $200 for a sample will start to look like money well spent!
Getting samples will obviously take time and might lead to a delay in launching your business but it will prevent future headaches or costly mistakes.
Over thirty years ago my dad ordered a candle-making machine only to find that the candles it produced were as small as his finger. The conventional candles at the time were much bigger and he thought he'd thrown his money down the drain. He was in a state of total panic but fortunately for him this incident coincided with a Government ban on the importation of many goods including candles and the business took off.
He was lucky; it could just have easily gone the other way so I totally recommend ordering samples or if you're ordering something big ask the right questions. In my dad's case he could have inquired about the candle size but remember that this was before email. It would have meant an expensive ‘question and answer’ phone call or a letter that took forever to get there.
With these tips you should be well on your way to sourcing quality machinery and products.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
Don't Imitate, Innovate
There is a tendency for people to copy businesses that are doing well. More often than note they try to copy exactly what the other company is doing with no attempt whatsoever to improve upon it. We need to move away from this mentality!
Get Walking or Start Listening
My father's first big business was candles. He started a company called Candlex in the early '80s and it became a roaring success. When he started that business his goal was simple, to afford himself a basic car and to feed his family; he did a lot better than that. Do you know how he settled on the candle? He walked from shop to shop, analysed the products within and thought about whether he could make that product better.
You can do this exercise with ease. Walk into the many Chinese stores that have taken over every town and figure out what you can produce BETTER. Word of mouth is a very viable marketing tool in Malawi and when people get wind that you're doing good work they will come.
Alternatively, listen to your friends' complaints. Behind every complaint is a potential business.
The Government can also help to reduce Malawi's dependence on imports with duties, taxes or limited-time bans.
I am personally against excessive Government controls but if you have a genuinely good business idea you can lobby the Government to limit imports of specific goods using quotas or import duties.
It is critical that any such regime is for a limited time only because a) it makes local producers complacent and b) consumers lose out if they are having to tolerate lower quality produce.
Low Capital Ideas
So you're a youngster with lots of time but very little in the way of money? Turn to the internet. Internet usage is very low in Malawi so what you should be looking to do with any internet business is to either execute projects for companies or do things for Malawians in the diaspora.
For example, there are many Malawians abroad who would like to send friends and family members within Malawi gifts or presents on special occasions (birthdays, Christmas etc.). You can set up a website with images of the products that local companies sell so that people abroad can order via your website.
E.g. go to local flower sellers, take pictures of their flower designs, ask what the price is and showcase these designs with your profit added on top on your website. People pay you for the flowers either via a local relative or if you have connections abroad you can go into a joint venture with them so that payments can be received via a PayPal account that they manage. When the person abroad buys the flowers, they provide a phone number so that the intended local recipient can be called to collect or an address to which the gift needs to be delivered. You can offer to deliver to certain areas or within a given radius.
The same business model can be rolled out for baby clothes and children's toys. This is a business idea anyone with basic IT skills can start; it can also be a good forex earner.
If you decide to do this try wordpress.com or weebly.com for website creation; you can create professional looking sites within a few hours and with very little knowledge of "code".
"You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don’t see them" ~ Jay Abraham
Why Don’t You Start This Business?
In Malawi there are many opportunities: we are highly import dependent and for those goods that are locally produced the quality tends to be low.
Even for simple things like bricks and cement people prefer the versions produced in Zambia or Tanzania, our very own neighbours, because the local version is thought to be complete rubbish. As I have stated in a previous column, if you go into business purely to make money, your product will state that purpose loud and clear. Your prime concern in any business should be customer satisfaction. If you create a product with a view to making the customer happy, you'll produce quality. The problem is that this quality needs to be produced at a good price.
Here are a few simple ideas:
I'm very much stating the obvious here but everyone needs to eat. The production of a food-related item is very scalable provided people like it. Students are a good target market because many of the facilities in town are beyond their budget. If you can create a budget-friendly food place, that niche market is all yours.
Animal rearing - whether it's pork, beef or goat, you can rear these animals and sell the meat to big and small retailers? You’ll probably have to start with small retailers before the supermarkets will consider you. Create a strong brand using both print and radio advertising.
Condiments - new and innovative herbs or spice mixes are something that urbanites frequently buy. You don't even have to imitate something that is already being made, like Nali or the Royco mixes, do something completely new. I hate it when people simply copy things that are out there: don't imitate, innovate.
Basic school bags are something that every child in Malawi needs. Can you produce something of a high quality at a low price?
You don't even have to produce this yourself. You can travel to China and source quality products. Many people moan about the poor quality goods from China but China produces a whole range: those fabulous clothes in UK and US stores also come from China. You get what you pay for and if you can buy large volumes you can get heavy discounts on quality products from the very China that currently sends us its cast offs!
Ceramics and china dishes are not scalable in Malawi. However, if you can source or create quality plastic or metal utensils different to what is currently available, you can do well.
The types of plastic and metal plates currently available haven't changed in years; it's the same thing year in and year out. If you can design your own range and get that produced you could do well.
4. BASIC PERSONAL CARE: SOAPS, LOTIONS, BODY SCRUBBERS etc.
Another scalable space. Makeup is less scalable because most budgets cannot stretch that far.
My own father used to operate in this space and by producing a basic quality product he was competing with Unilever (Lever Brothers) an international company. Don't be intimidated by the presence of multinationals; in fact, in the current economic environment many international companies are deciding to leave. This presents opportunities for Malawians to produce goods for their own people. Look at who's leaving and see how you can fill the gap.
"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." ~ John F. Kennedy.
Business Idea Generation
Last year I wrote a bit about how to come up with business ideas and I believe a few of you did come up with great ideas but the problem is many haven’t executed a single one of those ideas. I am always telling people that ideas are cheap and execution is everything. Even that guy you think is a complete idiot in the office comes up with great ideas – what differentiates the great from the average if taking the first step.
Here’s how you can re-evaluate your idea.
1. Think Big
Personally, I like the idea of scale. Try to do something that can be BIG. If you produce a basic product that many people need then you have a large customer base to satisfy and a potentially very large source of revenue.
2. Start Small
Secondly, keep in mind that many big businesses started off small. Create "a small batch" of your first product and then roll it out. I use the term "batch" very loosely. For instance, when my dad started his bus company, Axa, he only ordered three buses; when it was established that there was adequate demand for the service he ordered 12 more buses taking it to 18 or so; then the next order took the bus count to 40. He thought big but he started small like any smart business person should.
The principles of small batches are espoused in "The Lean Start-up" by Eric Ries. In this book, Mr Ries, a successful young entrepreneur talks about a variety of businesses that have established a "minimum viable product" (MVP), and marketed that before going big into a business.
The MVP is the version of your product that has the fewest number of features and doesn't cost too much or take too long to produce so as to test the market.
Once the business is started, operational costs can also be minimised by not producing too much stock so that your money isn't tied up in stock. This gives you flexibility. In fact, Toyota's business model is based on this principle.
3. Minimise your labour input
What about businesses that depend on your personal labour? So you're a lawyer or a doctor or even a masseuse and your business idea is to start your own practice, can this be made scalable? Yes.
The beauty of this type of business is that start up costs can be very low indeed. All you need is an office; to begin with you can work out of your own home or rent a small space in town. The problem here is that when you don't work you don't make money unlike with manufacturing and selling where you can hire unskilled people and quickly train them to do some of the work for you.
With your own practice your plan from the outset should be to hire other well-qualified people that work under you and who earn a commission for business they bring in with you getting a cut of that revenue because it's your business. Ultimately, when your practice is big enough you should be able to step away from the day-to-day operations because enough money is coming in from the work that your staff produce.
One problem. Are the people you are employing of your calibre or higher? Your goal SHOULD be to hire smarter folk because the higher the quality of your work force, the more (and bigger) the business you will attract. In the long run these guys may leave to start their own practice but for the time that you have them they can be a real asset to your business: train them up and incentivise them to stay.
In summary, think of businesses that are a) scalable, b) produce small batches, c) employ high quality workers or train people up to a high standard. Then take the first step asap!
"I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 people than 100 percent of my own efforts.” ~ J. Paul Getty
Did You Start The Business?
Last year at around this time I wrote an article about how you can go about starting a business. I’m sure that those that read the article may have started getting ideas about what they can do or how they can make their current ideas even better – unfortunately, for the majority it ended there. Those ideas remained ideas and nothing has been executed.
I always say ideas are cheap. Everyone, even the beggar on the street has ideas about how they can make their lives better but only execution matters. If things didn’t work out for you businesswise last year, it doesn’t matter; it’s a new year, wipe the slate clean and start afresh!
If you're going to start a business, start it properly. This means having a proper framework in place (accountants, templates for invoices and receipts etc.) and starting out with good intentions. Real business people don't start out in business with the sole purpose of making money: that's a very poor reason to start a business. Making money should just be a by-product of another goal.
You can start today. Grab a piece of paper and write out your execution plan for 2014. A few days ago I felt so inspired when I was out with my husband that in one hour at a café I mapped out my plan for the first half of 2014 and I have started executing it already. You can do the same – the difference between people who succeed and those poor timid souls that know neither victory nor defeat is ACTION! Let’s get to the nitty gritty:
SHOULD YOU CREATE OR INNOVATE?
If you're good at making something you very likely want to spend as much time as possible or at least more time making that product. Starting a business would allow you to spend more time making or creating the product you like and make a living at the same time.
“I’M TOO YOUNG” / “I’M TOO OLD!”
It's never too early to start a business and it's never too late either. Some people were born to be business people, it's in their DNA whilst others grow into enterprise; they find something they love to do and in the process learn that this passion can actually make them some money.
So, what should you think about before you start a business?
1. What you love to do and how you can turn it into a business
2. How much money, if any, you will need to begin with
3. How you will market your business
4. Your one-month, six-month and twelve-month business goals
You need to write all this on paper because writing it down is a sign of real commitment. How many items will you produce each month? What's your plan for growth? Most people never go beyond the "small business" stage because they don't plan. Planning is key.
You don't need a multi-page business plan to start, either. Personally I think long business plans are a waste of time and an even bigger waste of paper. Some people spend ages on the planning stage because that of course stops them from starting; starting is when things begin to get really hard.
A specific set of goals with realistic deadlines is all you need to embark on your business.
Now go off to register your business and let's get rolling. Struggling for business ideas? I'll give a broad set of rules for coming up with business ideas next week.
This article has made the assumption that most of you did not move to start a business, or those that did stalled along the way and I want to re-energise you. However, I also want to hear from those who have had modest or great success over the last year. Visit my Facebook page and leave me a comment or tell your story. All can participate facebook.com/GettingToWealthy.
"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing." ~ Eva Young
This is the fifth and final week on CVs. If you have read every article in this 5-part series you should not only be able to write a PhD on the subject you should be getting many more interviews. Here go my final 13 tips:
33. Look decisive, don’t tarnish your loyalty card
Employers want to hire someone that will stay for a while. If your CV shows that you chop and change jobs very regularly, this will act against you. It will show one or more of the following:
You’re not loyal
You’re a risky hire
Overall, the CV needs to be consistent.
34. Throw in some stats
Numbers help to further credentialize you.
If you’re applying for a sales position add examples of sales targets you have reached or exceeded.
Emerging Market FX Sales, Bank X
· Increased sales revenue by 20% in first year and a further 15% in second year.
· Was one of the top three sales people every single year for 5 years
You can also throw in statistics showing your ranking at school or in university.
35. Don’t include reasons for why you left your old job
It’s not necessary on a CV as it doesn’t add value to why you might be a good candidate for the job. Of course, it is likely to come up in interviews so make sure you have a good response to the question.
36. Don’t say anything negative
There is no space on a CV for complaints or criticisms of previous employers. If you didn’t like a certain job or activity that you took part in, don’t say that. Recruiters don’t like complainers or problem-makers.
37. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate
Your employer will find out when you start work if you exaggerated anything or a background check might bring out inconsistencies. You could lose your job, or end up in court if particularly egregious. It’s not worth it, don’t do it.
38. Have different CVs for different roles
If you are applying for exactly the same type of job in different companies then the same CV will suffice. However, if you are making applications based on different job specs then you need to customise your CV.
39. Before you send it off, match your CV against the job specification
Ensure that your CV includes as much as possible regarding what the employer has asked for. That said, a major point to keep in mind: you don’t need to have 100% of what has been requested.
Statistics show that men frequently apply for a job even when they only partly match the specification. Women usually only make the application when they have everything. I say, be a man!
40. Check it twice then get a fresh pair of eyes to look over it again
This is related to the point on typos. When you have been working on your CV for a long time you might fail to see inconsistencies that a fresh pair of eyes will pick up immediately. Get a professional resume writer to review your resume and increase your chances of getting a job interview.
41. Key words matter
Nowadays recruiters including head hunters frequently use searchable databases to find a candidate. This is also true on LinkedIn. When I am looking for someone I will type “Head of Diversity Recruiting at Company X” or “Marketing Expert, New York” etc.
Make sure your CV uses the correct keywords for the job you are looking for, so you are visible on these searches.
42. Mention any prominent industry specialists that you’ve worked with
This will help to credentialize you. Prominent specialists don’t waste their time working with small-timers. Having had access to and worked with people of this calibre adds credibility to your profile.
43. No need for references
It is more common for people to just write “References available on request”. Some people think this is daft because that’s stating the obvious. However, I would say include this line if there’s space. It doesn’t do you any harm.
44. Update your CV and your LinkedIn profile regularly
Ensure you have an updated CV and profile on LinkedIn so you’re ready to take advantage of your next opportunity.
We live in a fast paced world; your next job offer is always around the corner. Head hunters are constantly scanning people’s profiles on LinkedIn to fill new positions. Gone are the days when people sat in the same job for 30 to 40 years at a time.
45. Finally, consider getting professional help.
To guarantee a high-quality CV get a professional CV writer to help you do it.
Over the last five weeks I've taken you through a very extensive course in CV writing. If getting a new job is on the cards for this new year: you are very well set!
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” Oscar Wilde
For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.