About career guidance/services

The office of career guidance/services is one of the non-academic departments in the Polytechnic. In the month of June 2018, the Ministry of Education launched the office of career services. On 23rd January 2019, institutions of learning were directed to establish these offices.

Career Guidance Office

The office is meant to play a critical role in creating linkages between learnt skills and industry thus offering a platform for seamless transition from learning to earning.

The office of career services in The Nyeri National Polytechnic is helping trainees in career choice and preparation. Other responsibilities of the office interalia include graduate tracking, linkages and partnerships with industries and other training institutions and professional organizations, involvement in workplace learning programs, providing tips and links on securing job opportunities, establishing alumni networks and providing job opportunity sites accessible by trainees and promoting trainee volunteering for exposure and experience.

The institution is giving job readiness services and career development services. This is by providing accurate information about career direction, progression and career training. The Polytechnic is also offering more vocational information concerning the nature and structure of the country’s occupations, industry, labour systems and also the current trends in employment. The Polytechnic in its career endeavour is reaching out to secondary schools and career fair forums for career education and vocational guidance.

The office is looking forward to having trainees make meaningful and informed career decisions.

APPLICATION LETTER WRITING

A letter of application also known or used as a cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information about your skills.

Key elements of a cover /application letter for a job.

Click the link for more information on how to write an application letter https://thenyeripoly.ac.ke/downloads/APPLICATION_LETTER_WRITING.pdf

CAREER INFORMATION ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The concept of entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur is a person who comes up with a business idea, and mobilizes resources to bring the idea to a reality. Entrepreneurship is the process of scanning the environment, identifying a business opportunity/idea, mobilizing the necessary and available resources, undertaking risks and economic uncertainty in order to initiate an enterprise to satisfy a need and to make profit. Starting a business is aimed at improving peoples’ lives.

Role of Entrepreneurship

  1. Improve the capital income by starting small businesses: As a trainee, you are now advised on how to improve your living standards by venturing to entrepreneurship and also embracing the technology advancement in assisting you in venturing into Digital innovations investments. As a trainee, you are encouraged to explore online opportunities because it is cost effective. You are advised to: • Write online projects and proposal activities and earn e- money

• Invest on Web Wallet

• On how to invest in USD Digital online businesses such as forex trading.

• Ajira digital programmes

  1. Entrepreneurship can also improve trainees’ living standards by using the available resources offered through grants and soft loans e.g. from Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities Programme (KYEOP), Ajira Kenya, Safaricom MSHWARI, youth enterprise fund As a Regular and special needs trainee, you can minimise your expenditures and spend small capital from HELB to establish a business that can sustain your life. For example as a trainee you can do proposals to company’s like Kiwi and establish shoe polish stands within or outside our institution. You can also do proposals and acquire Nescafe coffee dispenser from Nescafe Company.

  2. Entrepreneurship also helps gain economic independence Entrepreneurship creates job opportunities. For example those with catering competencies can open small hotels/restaurant or even do outside catering. Starting of small businesses, will result to employing administrative and hospitality staff. Areas of Innovation can be in; • New product

• New Services

• New Production Techniques

• New Way of Delivering the Product or Service to the Customer

• New Operating Practices

• New Means of Informing the Customer about the Product

• New Means of Managing Relationship within the Organization

• New Ways of Managing Relationships between Organizations

Business Innovation

Business innovation refers to the process of introducing new ideas, workflows, methodologies, services or products.

It is important to note that business innovation may result in new products or services, new or improved business processes, changes in the way your products are marketed or the introduction of new technology.

We can therefore say that product or service, Process, Marketing and business model are the four types of business innovation.

As a trainee you need the understanding that innovation can make a business to grow by improving productivity and efficiency.

Ability to innovate will also enable a business to remain competitive and respond to changes. A good example of a recent business innovation is of the two trainees from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology who developed an automated robot using artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops. Solution uses cameras as sensors to gather input from the environment and eliminates farmers need to use environmentally pesticides in their weeding.

Technologies Driving Business Innovation

Artificial intelligence (AI)

This refers the ability of a digital computer or computer- controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.

The Internet:

Ever-faster internet speeds are not just about swifter data transfers; they are spawning new business processes and other innovations.

Obviously the same tasks will be done the same way, but faster.

Faster speeds unlock new behaviours.

Businesses can share data between remote facilities in near-instant fashion.

Business Opportunity

Once a viable business has been identified, you need to plan how to make the idea to become a reality. A business plan is a document which spells out the goals and objectives of a business and clearly outlines how and when these goals can be achieved.

It is an entrepreneurial road map of a successful enterprise.

It can also act as a selling document as well as a management tool or guide.

Sources of business opportunities includes;

• Informal conducts i.e. Observation of market trends

• Talking to successful business people

• Using newspapers

• Talking to potential customers/doing a survey

• Talking to professionals and consultants

• Shows and exhibitions

• Through brainstorming

• Through hobbies and talents

• Through vocational training and experience

• Self-analysis

• Government agencies i.e. EPZ, ministry of industrialization

• Friends and acquaintances

• Internet etc.

Factors that you can consider in selecting a business idea/opportunity

• Infrastructure-roads, power and electricity, water, communication network, social amenities. If these factors are available then environment is conclusive

• Market conditions - customers, pattern of trading and business activities

• Demographic factors- total population, type of population, age, sex, level of education, ethnic group etc.

• Cultural values-people have different cultural values and such values affect the explanation of a business i.e. traditions, customs, religious beliefs

• Competition-entrepreneurs need to consider competition in an environment. The less the competition, the higher the chances of growing in exploiting a business opportunity.

• Legal-government policies toward small and big businesses

• Technological factors-level and type of technology available

• Availability of resources-raw materials, HR, availability of credit

Entrepreneurs Self- Assessment;

• Conducting self-assessment can help you as a Regular and special needs trainee to understand yourself and recognize your strong and weak entrepreneurial characteristics.

• In identifying them, as a trainee, you are encouraged to device ways to improve your weaknesses and further develop your strong characteristics.

• To establish whether you are potential entrepreneur, you as Regular or special needs trainee can carry out a self-assessment by conducting Strength, Weaknesses, and Opportunity Tests:

• This is a method to determine the:

• Personal background- this relates to your educational level as a trainee which can be either formal or informal

• Relevant skills and lifestyle-this area investigates the competence that you as an entrepreneur may possess

• Behaviour pattern-this section investigates the personality traits that one has when the test is being carried out.

• Other techniques that can be used are by administering Sentence completion and Paired comparison test, group discussion and through interviews

Why Small Businesses Fail

i. Management incompetence

ii. Poor financial control

iii. Lack of adequate capital

iv. Over investment in fixed asset

v. Failure to plan current as well as future operation

vi. Failure to adopt proper inventory control system

vii. Improper Attitude (The entrepreneur may not respect time, employees and may have lazy lifestyle and dictatorial style of work)

viii. Inadequate marketing plan □ incorrect market identification

ix. Poor distribution channel □ Weak marketing communication or promotion

How to avoid the pitfalls

• Know your business in depth:

• Have a Good Relation with Stake Holders

• Prepare business plan

• Managing financial resources

• Understanding financial statement

• Learn to manage people effectively

• Keep in tune with yourself

• Take up short professional courses in management (entrepreneurship):

• Be sensitive to your customers

• Management incompetence

• Poor financial control

• Lack of adequate capital

• Over investment in fixed asset

• Failure to plan current as well as future operation

• Failure to adopt proper inventory control system

• Improper Attitude (The entrepreneur may not respect time, employees and may have lazy lifestyle and dictatorial style of work)

• Inadequate marketing plan

• Incorrect market identification

• Poor distribution channel

• Weak marketing communication or promotion

Resource Mobilization and Utilization

• Resource mobilization is the process of putting together all the resources required by an organization for interventions aimed at achieving its set objectives.

• Resource mobilization is not an end but a means of achieving the end.

• On the other hand, resource utilization is the process of applying appropriate strategies effectively to ensure that the objectives of the programme are realized.

• Resource mobilization and utilization is a process intended to acquire resources needed and effectively use them to solve some problem of given target group that come together in pursuit of collective/common goal.

• As a Regular and special needs trainee, you can mobilize resources, determine the right mix of resources and the most effective ways to utilize them.

Sources of business funds

The two broad categories of sources of resources include:

i. Internal sources

ii. External sources

i. Internal sources: include the resources that can be generated by the individual through: • Personal savings e.g. from HELB,YOUTH FUND

• Inheritance

• Donations

• Public lottery activities

• Fund raising

ii. External Sources: These external sources may include: • Corporate donors

• NGOs

• Government agencies e. Kenya Industrial Estate

• Venture capitalists

• Angel investors

• Faith based organizations

• Funding proposal

Entrepreneur Incubations

• Entrepreneur incubation is a process designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections.

• Business incubators programs are often sponsored by private companies or municipal entities and public institutions, such as colleges and universities.

• Entrepreneur incubation goal is to help create and grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial and technical services.

• Incubators provide numerous benefits to owners of start-up businesses.

• Their office and manufacturing space is offered at below-market rates, and their staff supplies advice and much-needed expertise in developing business and marketing plans as well as helping to fund businesses.

Below are illustrations identifying innovation incubators in Kenya:

List of Incubators Aims/Focus Area Startup Institution/Organization

  1. C4DLab -Research & Development center -Incubator The University of Nairobi
  2. iBizAfrica -Entrepreneurship -Incubation Strathmore University
  3. Villgro -Healthcare Center
  4. FabLab -Offers digital fabrication - The University of Nairobi
  5. iHub - Supports African tech startups - Connect Build organization Hub, Nairobi
  6. mLab East Africa Organizations
  1. Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre -Speeding up market access for SMEs in the ICT sector -Imparting knowledge - The University of Nairobi
  2. Growth Hub -Mentorship and networking opportunities. Its portfolio includes startups such as Farm Lease and Kiara Agro. - Founder Johnni Kjelsgaard, The Danish organization GrowthAfrica
  3. NaiLab Aims to:
  1. The Hub East Africa -Support startups and SMEs to start, grow and scale their enterprises - The Hub East Africa Organization
  2. The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) -Provides critical skills training, finding and support in software development, business and communication Jorn Lyseggen, Founder CEO Meltwater and MEST
  3. Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Center -To support the emergence of innovative companies by offering a place that merges academic research and innovation - Kenyatta University
  4. Kenya Kountry Business Incubators (KeKoBi) -Supports SMEs and forest entrepreneurship at the local level - Kenya Kountry Business Incubation, Nairobi
  5. Mara Launchpad Incubation Center -Offers entrepreneurs mentorship, funding, a workspace and business training - Mara Foundation

Others include: • Lake Hub Foundation • Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) • etc.

CAREER INFORMATION ON ONLINE JOBS

Online Job Markets

With increasing rates of unemployment among the youth and a market that is saturated with jobseekers, it is now evident that the traditional office jobs are no longer readily available and young people have to look for alternative ways of earning a living.

With the proliferation of the internet and advancements in technology, more and more job providers are resorting to use of the internet and online platforms to get the services required by their organizations.

Online jobs refer to work that is done via the internet and does not require a physical office or such like premises.

For young people who prefer flexible jobs where they can work from anywhere and at a time, the online jobs are very suitable. They can also hold several jobs at the same time. You need to be aware of the online job market as a trainee and graduate on how you can access online jobs.

You are also advised on the effective utilization of online job opportunities and the competencies required.

Types of online jobs

There are different types of online jobs available to job seekers.

Below are examples of jobs that you as a trainee can undertake.

Some of the jobs are also suitable to you as you undertake your training:

Online Juror: Attorneys preparing for trial often create a mock jury to obtain feedback from individuals similar to those who may eventually sit on a jury.

Because it can be costly to have an in-person mock jury, cheaper online jurors are the logical alternative.

They might listen to audio and view video presentations, or read the material and answer questions.

Because lawyers seek people who match the profile of potential real-life jurors, online jury companies ask detailed questions of applicants.

To become an online juror, one needs to sign up with several jury companies, which includes filling out an extensive questionnaire. One also needs to meet certain qualifications, which vary among counties.

Data Entry:

Online data entry is a growing work-at-home field. New technology makes it easier for companies to hire independent contractors to work on data entry projects.

Data entry operators may access a company’s infrastructure remotely or use crowd sourcing technologies.

Data entry can include fields such as basic general transcription; however, most transcription tasks require additional experience.

Website or Application Testing:

This involves giving opinions on what works and what doesn’t on the web.

When companies are testing the usability of the new applications, they need people to try out their products and then give their feedback to the company.

User testers can also review websites o mobile applications that are still in development.

Such jobs do not require one to be very knowledgeable about the internet because some developers want a beginner’s viewpoint.

Search Evaluator:

Search engine evaluators examine internet search results and give feedback as to whether they are accurate, relevant, and spam-free.

To do this, the evaluator must be knowledgeable about the current culture and the internet and possess good communication skills.

Sometimes a college degree is required or preferred, but direct experience is not mandatory.

This particular work-at-home opportunity requires some experience but pays a higher wage.

Proof-reader:

Proof reading jobs are suitable to persons who have an eye for spotting spelling errors or typos.

However, this job may require taking a proofreading course or some prior experience, or one is required to take a test before getting hired.

Micro Job:

A micro job is usually a small online task for which one receives an equally small fee, usually a few cents or dollars.

They are sometimes called short tasks.

These jobs are done by logging on to a company’s website and selecting tasks, sometimes simply by clicking a link.

Jobs may also be found in online service marketplaces.

Here workers offer small services, usually for a set fee, and buyers browse the marketplace to find people offering the services they need.

Job opportunities include crowdsourcing projects, which are similar to data entry, where companies engage an army of virtual workers to perform a small part of a larger project.

Workers can also take advantage of reward programs and surveys, which are perhaps the original work-at-home micro-jobs.

Because the fee is so small and the task takes so little time, many tasks as possible.

Virtual Assistant:

As a virtual assistant, one is tasked with work that is similar to that of an office assistant. Even though one will be working from home, they should be highly organized, efficient, and dependable. Duties typically include filing and maintaining records, scheduling appointments and events, and answering phones.

Online course tutor: If one is knowledgeable in design, photography, health and fitness, business, personal development, music, fashion, technology, writing or another topic, thousands of students may be eager to learn from your course.

Product reviewer on YouTube: Most people check product review on you tube before making a purchase. One can offer to review and get paid for it.

Affiliate marketer: Affiliate marketing is the process of helping another website to sell their products or services via special affiliate links. When one signs up for a company’s affiliate platform, they receive a unique link or links that will earn them a commission every time a user clicks on them (or buys something after clicking)

Blogger:

As a blogger, one can earn money by:

Placing ads on your blog, and getting paid every time a visitor clicks on them.

Writing reviews about other companies’ products or services. Make sure they are relevant to your audience and that they are not you’re only content.

Offering additional paid content within your articles (e.g., downloadable e-book, online consultations or related products).

Doing content marketing for your customers. You can either write articles for your client’s blog or pitch guest posts to reputable platforms including links to your client’s site. Your customer will pay you for spreading the word about their services and improving their ranking in search engines.

Writing for other blogs and media outlets that pay guest contributors.

The most significant benefit of blogging is that one does not need any budget to start it, only good writing skills and expertise in a niche topic or some sort of unique experience.

Benefits of online jobs

The benefits of engaging in online jobs include;

i. Online jobs are generally cost-effective. Your only expense, basically, is your internet fees

ii. They save lots of travel time

iii. There are many online opportunities that provide one with income

iv. Online jobs offer huge flexibility: one is able to attend to other personal obligations as they do online jobs.

v. Not limited by age: Since online jobs require minimal physical exertion, age is typically not much of an issue

vi. You can try different jobs. This will minimize monotony by switching to different jobs

vii. Available 24/7 and is not restricted by one’s geographical location.

Skills and competencies required for online jobs

Effective utilization of online job opportunities is largely determined by the possession of certain skills and competencies that young people need to acquire. These online skills include;

Media literacy: - Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.

Online writing: - Format of writing that include texting, instant messaging, emailing, blogging, tweeting, posting comments on social media sites such as Facebook.

Online discourse: - exchange of ideas and viewpoints mediated by a computer mediated communication medium via a discussion board, a career management system or any other synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tool.

Online presence: - existence of an individual or institution that can be found via an online search. Example of an individual who has a LinkedIn or Facebook profile. There is need to leverage and enhance one existing web presence to boost your exposure and reputation and market themselves and/or their institution online. One way is to design and built a compelling website or a blog.

The Ajira Digital Project

To take advantage of the lucrative online job market, we shall discuss the Ajira Digital Project, as an example of a program aiming at preparing the youth to undertake online jobs.

The program seeks to position Kenya as a choice labour destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and public sector to create digital work.

The government digitization projects already create lots of viable micro work that can be completed by digital workers.

Access to digital work will build wealth and grow the middle class across the country. A larger middle class means more opportunities for businesses and direct growth of GDP.

The main objectives are to raise the profile of digital work; Promote a mentorship and collaborative learning approach to finding digital work; Provide Kenyans with access to digital work, and finally Promote Kenya as a destination for online workers.

The guiding principles of the Ajira Digital Program are:

The components of the Ajira digital program have been designed to address the main challenges that hinder the youth on benefiting from digital job opportunities:

• Access to dignified work - growing the local demand, Government becoming an anchor client and positioning Kenya as a choice labour destination for multinationals globally

• Education and Skills for the dynamic, always changing online jobs

• Access to Infrastructure - Innovation Hubs, Kazi Connect Centres, Studio Mashinani, Y254 TV Channel

• Awareness - Building trust and confidence

The key project interventions are:

Training: The project targets to train youth on online work. The training aims to equip the youth with basic soft skills and introduction to online work skills, digital marketing and basic financial management skills across selected counties. The project targets to train experienced online work freelancers. with an aim of equipping the selected online work freelancers with skills to scale up and develop their businesses into agencies and source for more work to share with new online workers. The experienced freelancers are ultimately expected to handhold the new online workers through one month mentorship.

Mentorship: Upon successful completion of the training, the youth are transitioned to one month mentorship through handholding by the experienced freelancers. The mentorship is aimed at enhancing the trained youth’s skills on online work thereby increasing their access to online jobs.

Emerging Technologies in Career

• Emerging technology is a term generally used to describe a new technology, but it may also refer to the continuing development of an existing technology.

• It can have slightly different meaning when used in different areas, such as media, business, science, or education.

• The term commonly refers to technologies that are currently developing, or that are expected to be available within the next five to ten years.

• The term is also used to refer to technologies that are creating, or are expected to create, significant social or economic effects.

Examples of emerging technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI): this refers to the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.

5G Networks: these are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before. The networks will provide wireless connections at the speed and latency needed for complex solutions like driverless vehicles.

Cloud computing: this refers to the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

Robotics: This refers to the automation of routine processes by using machines to make businesses faster, less expensive and more efficient

Biometrics: Biometrics is physical or behavioural human characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing rhythm. Each of these identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and they may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification

3D printing: 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a method of creating a three dimensional object layer-by- layer using a computer created design.

Virtual reality (VR): Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.

Drones: a drone refers to an unpiloted aircraft or spacecraft. Another term for it is an “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” or UAV.

The Role of Social Media in Career Development

Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time.

Examples of social media include; Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, linked in and Pinterest.

With increased use of technology, social media applications are becoming very popular and they offer unlimited possibilities for the enhancement of career guidance and counselling services. Social media can play the following roles:

Social media can play the following roles:

Social media for networking: Technologies such as social media can help trainees build relationships with employers, develop their digital identities and showcase their skills. While platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are commonly used for personal interactions, there is a huge benefit to using such tools when it comes to one career. These benefits include;

Increasing exposure: Nowadays some employers has tendency of performing some form of online search before meeting candidates. A visible online professional profile is essential for an individual seeking employment. This allows any potential employers to review such public profile ahead of any meetings. Also, it allows for employers to easily find such individuals, which can present countless opportunities.

Establishing a personal brand: When creating a professional profile one should establish a brand for him/herself. By putting a professional voice for oneself, it increases the likelihood of someone coming across such profile when looking for someone with such skill set.

Being active: The principle way of successfully developing a strong brand and gaining valuable exposure is to consistently use your chosen platform and to cultivate relationships. Routinely engaging peers is vital currency for an individual’s career.

Approaching people: Social network provides an easier way of approaching someone than it would be to do so at a social gathering. This can be achieved by introducing oneself to a potential employer who has a public profile on a professional social media platform.

LinkedIn

You start building your profile by including all of the experience on your resume, relevant keywords and skills, accomplishments and Web links.

Follow organizations you are interested in and stay current on news, announcements and opportunities.

Join groups relevant to your field and follow discussions and thought leaders to learn about current trends.

Search for alumni who work at your target organizations and reach out to see if they would be willing to provide advice.

Twitter

Using Twitter you can learn about industries, follow thought- leaders and organizations, share content you curate or create, establish connections and build your professional brand.

Create a professional profile that highlights your top skills.

Show knowledge and interest in your field by tweeting links to relevant articles or samples of your work.

Search for jobs by location, job titles, or social recruiting resources.

Facebook

Build one network by networking with professional associations and alumni organization pages on Facebook.

Always be professional while discussing with people and organizations through answering questions, commenting, messaging and linking to informative content through wall posts or status updates.

Follow the pages of employer organizations to stay abreast of news and job postings

Pinterest

For industries that value creativity or design, like graphic design, the arts, marketing or PR, this platform provides a visual way to display one’s talents.

Career development opportunities

a) Acquisition Soft skills Soft skills are sometimes referred to as transferable skills or professional skills.

As this term implies, these are skills that are less specialized, less rooted in specific vocations and more aligned with the general disposition and personality of a candidate.

Every job role requires some interaction with others, whether they are colleagues or customers, so soft skills will be important to most employers.

Soft skills required by employees include:

• Communication

• Self-Motivation

• Leadership

• Responsibility

• Teamwork

• Problem Solving

• Decision making

• Ability to Work under Pressure

• Time Management

• Flexibility

• Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

There are many online programs that employees can enrol in to acquire and develop the above soft skills. The online programs are fairly cheap, accessible and flexible and people can learn at their own pace. As we stated above, soft skills enhance ones employability and advancement in a career.

b) E-Mentorship programs Today understanding of education requires acquisition of knowledge through experience, not ready presentation of it.

In today’s setting, the need has emerged to create environments that enable learners to learn by doing and living.

In such learning environments, mentoring practices are seen to become increasingly widespread.

Mentoring means training and counselling of a relatively less experienced and competent person on occupational and personal development by a more experienced and skilled one.

The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in mentoring practices has led to changing of the classical mentoring and rising of the concept of electronic mentoring (e-mentoring).

E-mentoring has advantages of:

• Greater access,

• Reduced costs,

• Equalization of status,

• Decreased emphasis on demographics

• Records interactions between the mentor and the mentee.

• Today’s ICT tools offer a number of alternatives that can be used to provide top-level interaction in e-mentoring.

• The tools can be both synchronous and asynchronous.

• The ICT tools that can be used include; telephone calls, social networking sites, instant messaging applications and video- conferencing applications.

Skills enhancement

As work environments continue to change with increased use of technology, its important that employees continue to re-skill and up- skill in order to perform their work more effectively.

Today’s work environments also need people who can perform different tasks as some jobs continue to become obsolete.

E.g. an employee is expected to type and print documents without depending on secretaries and copy typists.

Some of the ICT skills required include:

Basic Operation of ICT Hardware – Including printers, scanners, photocopiers, smartphones, tablets and projectors.

Safe Internet Usage – Such as using search engines for research purposes or updating company social media accounts.

Typing – The ability to use a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word) to create letters, agendas and minutes. In some roles (such as medical or legal secretarial work), audio transcription skills will be required.

Document Creation – The ability to use software (such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Creative) to produce professional documents like PowerPoint presentations, letters, leaflets or posters.

Email and Calendar Management – The ability to use an email solution (such as Microsoft Outlook) to communicate with internal and external contacts, keep calendars up to date, and book meetings. In some specialist ICT roles, employees will need an in-depth knowledge of email systems, to create and manage user accounts.

The good news is that an employee does not have to back to school to learn these skills but can access different training programs available on the internet to acquire the skills.

Tips on how to behave on online platforms

How can a person’s online behaviour damage their chances of getting a job?

Be precise: Being misunderstood is quite common in online interactions; escape the miscommunication trap by double checking that what appears perfectly clear to you is not confusing your readers. The best way to test your messages for clarity is to read them aloud before you send them; this way, you will be able to see if they make sense.

Avoid emoticons and “texting” writing: Using emoticons and writing in “texting” language that is by using abbreviations might be considered too casual or even childish; refrain from them as much as possible. Online discussions require professional writing; smiley faces or linguistic shortcuts are more appropriate for chatting with your friends or instant messaging.

Netiquette

The rules of etiquette are just as important in cyberspace as they are in the real world and the evidence of poor netiquette can stick around to haunt someone for a long time.

To help young people use the internet responsibly, it’s important if they are ma aware of the rules that ought to be observed while they are interacting through the internet.

Encourage them to follow these basic rules of netiquette to avoid damaging their online and offline relationships.

Be precise: Being misunderstood is quite common in online interactions; escape the miscommunication trap by double checking that what appears perfectly clear to you is not confusing your readers. The best way to test your messages for clarity is to read them aloud before you send them; this way, you will be able to see if they make sense.

Avoid emoticons and “texting” writing: Using emoticons and writing in “texting” language that is by using abbreviations might be considered too casual or even childish; refrain from them as much as possible. Online discussions require professional writing; smiley faces or linguistic shortcuts are more appropriate for chatting with your friends or instant messaging.

Netiquette Tips for Online Interactions

The following are some netiquette tips for online communication;

Use a professional email address: The name one uses on their email accounts should portray seriousness and professionalism. Some email accounts names may make potential employers dismiss you as not being serious or professional. For example; cheekyboy@gmail.com or babygirl@yahoo.com

Your online profile: To get more insights into the personalities of job applicants, many employees are now resorting to checking the information you have posted online including the personal information on your online profile and your profile pictures. Ensure that your profile information should match what you have provided on your curriculum vitae and you use appropriate photos for your profile.

Be precise: Being misunderstood is quite common in online interactions; escape the miscommunication trap by double checking that what appears perfectly clear to you is not confusing your readers. The best way to test your messages for clarity is to read them aloud before you send them; this way, you will be able to see if they make sense.

Avoid emoticons and “texting” writing: Using emoticons and writing in “texting” language that is by using abbreviations might be considered too casual or even childish; refrain from them as much as possible. Online discussions require professional writing; smiley faces or linguistic shortcuts are more appropriate for chatting with your friends or instant messaging.

Don’t Assume Privacy: Keep in mind that your company and personal email may not be private. Your company has the right to read anything sent from the office, so never write and send personal or highly sensitive information from work. Personal email from home may be forwarded, so don’t put anything in writing that could cause a problem

Avoid Offensive Comments: avoid offensive comments in your online communication. This includes racist, sexist, or negative remarks about another person or company. If you receive an offensive email, don’t reply or forward it to anyone. Never use online platforms to say anything that can be misconstrued or misinterpreted if it gets back to your boss or potential employers.

Don’t Shout: Remember that when you type in all capitals, your communication comes across as shouting. Some people think it makes their message easier to read, but that isn’t the case. Use a font size and style that is easy on the eyes when read in standard case letters.

Edit Your Messages: Edit your communication before you hit the send button. Use spellchecker and go over all business emails to make sure you have proper grammar. You always want to present yourself as a professional in all correspondence. Check personal email after you finish writing it to make sure it gets your intended point across. Dropping or adding a single word can change the meaning of a sentence.

Reply with Caution: Know the proper way to reply to the emails or messages you receive. Pay close attention to the sender and the others in the “to” and “cc” fields. It is courteous to respond as quickly as possible.

Avoid the urge to hit “reply all” before looking to see who is listed in the header. Your response may confuse others on the list or you might wind up sending unnecessary information to people you don’t know. The only time you should click “reply all” is if you are sure everyone needs the information you are sending.

Watch Your Tone: Maintain a positive tone in your email communications. Remember that snarky remarks may come across as mean-spirited rather than funny.

Prepared by:

Grace Mukuru - Career Guidance Co-ordinator NNP