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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Job interview: Body language mistakes you're likely making by AMY LEVIN-EPSTEIN

(MoneyWatch) Heading into an important job interview can feel a little like going to battle. And you might prepare for it in the same way -- researching your "opponent" and then taking an upright "power" stance once you enter. Indeed, it's all about projecting an image of strength and competence. "Nobody walks into a job interview with the intention of being lazy, standoffish, or unlikeable," says Kelly Decker, president of consulting firm Decker Communications. But even a stellar resume can leave you looking lackluster. "When it comes to getting the job it's less about how accomplished you actually are -- and more about how you are perceived." Here are 5 mistakes most candidates make with body language:

Hunching over

In short, you'll look the opposite of enthused. "Whether seated in a chair or standing, many job seekers get too casual -- hunching, slumping or leaning to one side -- and the message gets sent to your hiring manager is that you are not interested in the job," says Decker. "Or worse, you send the message that you're not capable."

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Crossing your arms

This move has the same effect as hunching over, except it repels people even more effectively. "Crossing your arms is perceived as standoffish, defensive and even under-confident," says Decker. Instead, she says to "Pretend there is a string from the ceiling to the center of your head, helping pull you up straight -- and keep your shoulders down your back."

Keeping your hands in your lap

You don't want to "talk with your hands" the entire interview, but keeping your hands politely placed in your lap can make you look timid. "Most interviews are seated. If there is a table in front of you, rest your hands on top of the table so that you can more easily gesture and share your energy and enthusiasm," suggests Decker.


When you're focusing on answering a question, it's easy to frown, but this move can project a variety of negative connotations. "The smile is the gatekeeper to likeability," says Decker. If the hiring manager likes you, they'll want to keep you around -- so crack a genuine smile when you can.

Avoiding eye contact

Eye contact is sometimes the key to connecting with an interviewer, and not making it is a lost opportunity. Make a point in looking everyone you meet in the eye. And try not to be rattled by a group interview, even if it's impromptu. "It's even more critical that you share the love and look at all of the people in the room. Spend five to seven seconds at a time making eye contact with each person," says Decker.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Reps Ask Agencies to Stop Collecting Fees during recruitment

Worried by the rising trend of employment scam in the country, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a resolution calling on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to stop collecting any form of fee for recruitment exercise.
The House also mandated its committees on police affairs, justice and public safety and national security to interface with the Nigeria Police Force, State Security Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies to stop this ugly trend.
Adopting a motion moved by Rep Abiodun Abudu-Balogun (APC, Ogun), the House urged its Senate counterparts to fast-track the passage of cyber crime prevention and called on Nigerians to be cautious and confirm the credibility of all internet job offers.
Abudu-Balogun in his motion expressed concern that "many Nigerians, as a result of their desperation for jobs, fall victims of fake recruitment advertisements on the internet," adding that such adverts "are usually posted by dubious persons purportedly acting on behalf of many public and private organisations."
He disclosed that such job scammers extort huge sums in the guise of "registration fees" from unsuspecting Nigerians, saying they even give names of international oil companies and security agencies.
Contributing Rep Nkiruka Onyejeocha (PDP, Abia) said scammers had used their facebook account to extort money from some of her constituents, adding that something urgent must be done to sensitize Nigerians.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Employment Programme (Sure-P), Dr. Christopher Kolade, has bemoaned the rising rate of unemployment in the country, saying that no fewer than 40 million Nigerians are without jobs.... According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate averaged 14.60 per cent from 2006 until 2011, reaching an all time high of 23.90 per cent in December 2011. The NBS measures unemployment rate by the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.

...the World Bank noted that “Nigeria’s annual growth rates that average over seven per cent in official data during the last decade place the nation among the fastest growing economies in the world noting that the growth has been concentrated particularly on trade and agriculture, which would suggest substantial welfare benefits for many Nigerians. Nevertheless, poverty reduction and job creation have not kept pace with population growth, implying social distress for an increasing number of Nigerians.

According to the World Bank, “job creation in Nigeria has been inadequate to keep pace with the expanding working age population. The official unemployment rate had steadily increased from 12 per cent of the working age population in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2011. Preliminary indications are that this upward trend continued in 2012.”

the Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC) pointed to what it called “the growing unemployment rate and the rising number of poor skilled workforce” in the country. The Council, headed by Baroness Lynda Chalker, was inaugurated in 2004 as a presidential advisory body to attract global financial players into the Nigerian economy. Although not much positive impact could be attributed to HIIC’s efforts in Nigeria, the Council urges the government “to improve on its synergy with the other tiers of government and the industry in order to build basic education geared towards enhancing capacity of the workforce for industrialisation of the economy.”

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, admitted that the spate of unemployment was giving her sleepless nights. Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics, the minister declared that “each year, about 1.8m young Nigerians enter into our labour market and we need to ensure that the economy provides jobs for them.”

Okonjo-Iweala blamed the ineffectiveness of government developmental programmes on the fact that Nigeria lacked the institutional capacity to harness the gains of the programmes. In her words, “When you look at Nigeria, for over 50 to 60 years, we’ve been working without the key institutions that some other people have. We keep making stopgap solutions. For 50 years, we didn’t have a Bureau for Public Procurement; for 50 years, we didn’t have a Debt Management Office. So many of the institutions that we have now are new and if you stand back, you’ll see there are still many gaps. It is now our job to try to fill those gaps.”

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hiring Managers Reveal 12 Worst Resume Mistakes by Debra Auerbach

In the movie "Legally Blonde," the main character Elle Woods does some pretty memorable things to secure an internship at a law firm. One such stand-out tactic she uses is writing her résumé on pink scented paper. While her maneuvers worked to land her the job in the movie, in the real world, unusual résumés can quickly go from being memorable to a misstep.

CareerBuilder recently surveyed hiring managers, asking them to share the most memorable and unusual applications they've received. They gave the following real-life examples: 

  1. Résumé was written in Klingon language from Star Trek
  2. Résumé was submitted from a person the company just fired
  3. Résumé's "Skills" section was spelled "Skelze"
  4. Résumé listed the candidate's objective as "To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with three DUI's like my current employer"
  5. Résumé included language typically seen in text messages (e.g., no capitalization and use of shortcuts like "u")
  6. Résumé consisted of one sentence: "Hire me, I'm awesome"
  7. Résumé listed the candidate's online video gaming experience leading warrior "clans," suggesting this passed for leadership experience
  8. Résumé included pictures of the candidate from baby photos to adulthood
  9. Résumé was a music video
  10. Résumé didn't include the candidate's name
  11. On the job application, where it asks for your job title with a previous employer, the applicant wrote "Mr."
  12. Résumé included time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss

Costly resume mistakes
When asked to identify the most common résumé mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate, employers pointed to the following:
  • Résumés that have typos - 58 percent
  • Résumés that are generic and don't seem personalized for the position - 36 percent
  • Résumés that don't include a list of skills - 35 percent
  • Résumés that copied a large amount of wording from the job posting - 32 percent
  • Résumés that have an inappropriate email address - 31 percent
  • Résumés that don't include exact dates of employment - 27 percent
  • Résumés printed on decorative paper - 22 percent
  • Résumés that include a photo - 13 percent
"Your résumé is the primary deciding factor for whether you will land a job interview," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "It's important to project a professional image. Keep it succinct, personalize it to feature only skills and experience relevant to the position you're applying for, and always include specific, quantifiable results that showcase the value you can bring to an organization."

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bridging the skills gap in Nigeria’s petroleum industry

More than five decades after Nigeria formally commenced crude oil exportation and production, and over three decades since the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) was established mainly for creating a significant pool of skilled Nigerians for the developing the country’s petroleum industry, it is deplorable that the Nigerian manpower content in Africa’s largest oil and gas industry remains at 40 percent.
Stakeholders have given reasons for this scenario. Allegations range from the preference of foreign oil companies for expatriate personnel instead of Nigerian personnel, whether they are competent or not, to claims by the oil companies that there are not enough Nigerians with the necessary technical skills suited for a technology-intensive oil industry.
The inability of Nigeria’s educational system to provide well equipped and adequate domestic technical manpower evidently substantiates the latter claim. The dynamics of the political and economic environment in which these institutions operate is partly to blame. Appointments to top positions in universities have been politicized.
The critical role of the Nigerian university system in generating efficient and adequate manpower capacity for the diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy cannot be over-emphasised. For decades the system’s ability to perform this role has been increasingly undermined by poor funding of the universities. Hence, their inability to acquire updated technology for training students and the poor teaching and research environment which has not been able to attract high-flying members of faculty with proportionate town and gown technical exposure.

It is not uncommon to read and hear employers of labour in the country expressing their dissatisfaction with the quality of graduates from Nigerian universities. Severally, practitioners in the petroleum industry have described Nigeria’s geology and geophysics graduates as “half-baked and unemployable” as they hardly comprehend the practical aspects involved in oil exploration and processing. Similarly, engineering students from Nigerian universities have had much difficulty competing globally because the academic curriculum and laboratories are obsolete, and the teaching faculty largely lack he required industry exposure.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Microsoft launches 4Africa scholarship program

In recognition of International Youth Day on August 12, 2013, Microsoft introduced the 4Afrika Scholarship program, through which the company will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, university-level education and employment opportunities for promising African students. Mentorship will be provided by Microsoft employees from around the world, and employment opportunities will include internships and both part-time and full-time jobs within Microsoft as well as with the company’s more than 10,000 partners across Africa.

Through the company’s 4Afrika Initiative and YouthSpark program, Microsoft has committed to helping millions of Africans get critical skills for entrepreneurship and employability. The 4Afrika Scholarship program is one way the company intends to meet that goal, by ensuring that promising youth have access to the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their financial situation. To help redress gender disparity in higher education in Africa, the company is actively encouraging young women to apply.

Microsoft also announced that in the coming year, it will provide 4Afrika Scholarships to 1,000 youth to pursue associate degrees in computer science and business administration with the first participating higher education institution, University of the People, an American online university dedicated to the democratization of higher education which is affiliated with the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, NYU and Yale Law School ISP.

Together with participating education institutions, Microsoft’s goal with the 4Afrika Scholarship program is to level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields. The 4Afrika Initiative was designed to help ensure that Africa can become globally competitive, and investing in our highly motivated youth is a critical step toward making that a reality.

Students wishing to apply for 4Afrika Scholarships to attend University of the People must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma and proficient English, as all its coursework is English-language. They must also have access to the Internet to be able to participate in the online classes. To help address the connectivity issue, the company is making available working space in its Microsoft Innovation Centers in Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana for successful applicants near those locations. In addition, Microsoft is working with various partner hubs across Africa to make similar arrangements for students in other locations.

Applications for 4Afrika Scholarships to University of the People can be submitted on the following site:

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