5 job application mistakes and how to avoid them

December 22, 2017

If you have submitted job application for the same position up to five times and you did not get the job or at least an invitation for assessment, you are likely a victim or making one or more of the 5 job application mistakes listed below:

  1. Your CV was not well laid out
  2. Your CV had contents that disqualified you
  3.  The company received too many responses and did not even open your mail
  4. You were not qualified for the job
  5. Your cover letter was not good enough

Below are the ways that the aforementioned instances can affect your chances of getting a job.

5 job application mistakes and how to avoid them

1. Your CV is not well laid out

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo da Vinci

Keep your CV design simple. Even if you are a graphic artist, you are not required to show your skills visually on it.

Just a simple outline of your data is enough to qualify you for the next stage. What matters most is the content, but how do you expect the hiring manager to go through it if it is not well organised?

Remember that you are not the only applicant. There will surely be a whole lot of CVs to go through. If the text on yours are not legible without stress, it would be discarded no matter how qualified for the job you are.

2. Your CV contains contents that disqualified you

Is your email itsmethebadboy@yahoo.com? Cool. But your employer wants to see your ruggedness in your performance not through your email address. A simple email address will do. You could use your first name and surname or abbreviate either of the two. This is called maturity.

Your CV is the first impression of you that your potential employer has. You should come across as a serious individual that would add value to the organisation.

5 job application mistakes you mus avoid

Other items that could disqualify you for a job position are

Your biodata

  • Religion: use the space for relevant data such as the languages you speak.
  • Age: if the vacancy advert indicates a particular age and you have aged beyond it, do not forget to remove your date of birth completely. In fact, it is not necessary for you to add date of birth unless you are submitting an application in a required format.

Skills & attributes

  • Copying and pasting of  generic skills from online resources: the hiring manager would surely recognise it.
  • Be careful how you indicate your personal attributes. Instead of saying ‘I am a strong believer in my church/mosque, and I can face and overcome any storm’, say, ‘I am an optimistic individual who always sees challenges as avenue to apply my skills and go outside my comfort zone in achieving great results’.

Qualification

  • Grade: If your grade falls into lower class and below, leave it outside of your CV. Grade is one of the criteria that most organisations still shortlist applicants with. You might be qualified for the job, but a hiring manager that has decided to shortlist with grades may not have the time to go through the rest of your document, especially if he has a lot of documents to review.

Hobbies

  • It is better to state just one relevant hobby, than to list hobbies that would not help you in your job performance. Remember that your aim of submitting the application in the first place is to convince the organisation that you can perform the job they advertised for. e.g. adding chatting to your hobby on your CV if you are applying for the post of a secretary might affect your chances of getting the job. Or do you expect them to employ you so that you could chat away their trade secrets?

Other contents that could disqualify you include using short forms to write your words, or using informal language.

3. The company received too many responses and did not even open your mail (not your mistake)

This case is very likely based on the high volume of responses to job vacancy due to scarcity of jobs. However, if you do not get favourable responses from job applications, check your CV for other issues.

If you are confident that it is fine, then, to avoid being the one left out in all situations, go the extra mile when applying for jobs.

If the hiring organisation is within your reach, you could submit your application in person. You could also follow up via email after one week of applying.

To stand a higher chance of being invited for assessment, if the vacancy advert states that applications will be acknowledged, then you should follow up before the deadline if you do not get the acknowledgement.

Another way to scale this hurdle is to contact the recruitment unit of the hiring organisation via phone call. Do not do this if you are unable to communicate smartly. Remember that you are calling a decision maker not your personal person.

You could write down your speech and practice it before making the call. After introducing yourself, go straight to the point and let them know that you are calling to confirm that your application to their recent vacancy advert (mention the exact position you applied for) was received.

application4. You are not qualified for the job

If you do not get feedback after applying to several jobs it may simply be because you are not qualified for the jobs. Make sure you apply to jobs that you qualify for in terms of:

  • Gender
  • Qualification
  • Required remuneration
  • Location
  • Core skill

If all of the above are listed in a job advert and you do not fall in any of the required categories, do not bother to apply. Chances are, a lot of qualified candidates would apply and the hiring manager would not even bother with you.

If you would like to work in a particular company that does not have any opening for your skill set or qualification, it is safer for you to send cold applications listing your skill set and the values that you can add to your preferred department in the organisation.

5. Your cover letter was not good enough

This is a perfect way of shooting yourself in the legs. Your cover letter is your first impression. If it is not impressive, the hiring manager will not access your interest, unless, you are the only applicant. Who wants to work in an organisation where only one person responded to their job advert anyway.

Use your application letter to sell yourself to your potential employer. Do not talk about where you were born or the number of people in your family, nobody is interested, at least not your employer. Instead highlight your qualifications, work experience, and skills.

Tell them how you can apply your knowledge to achieve positive results at the position they want to fill. Express how you can help them reach their goals and add value to their organisation.

Lastly, always review your job search documents from time to time. Tailor them to the position you are applying for at any given moment. You could also apply for jobs even if you are not thinking of changing jobs. This would help you know your status in the labor market and how you have improved in your career.

I will start posting job updates on here from January 2018. Subscribe below to be the first to receive them in your mailbox. Click here to download my editable CV template for free. It is plainly designed and highly effective in helping scale the selection stage.

Now that you are aware of the common 5 job application mistakes, how do you plan to overcome them and land your dream job in 2018?

WhatsApp etiquettes for social selling

June 17, 2017 No Comments

Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. -HubSpot

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw a testimonial post by an excited seller. The post was a screenshot of the conversation that happened between her and the customer who shared the testimony. Something caught my eyes on the conversation and I was like, not again.

On the conversation, probably before the delivery of the item sold, the seller asked the buyer for information and added please to her phrase (phrase because ‘your shoe size please’ is not a complete sentence, is it?). To me, the question was rude, impatient and unprofessional.

You see, the word ‘please’ is a magic word, it can move mountains. But it will only move it when you use it the right way.

Talking with someone online is not the same as the communication is happening face to face, especially if you have a formal relationship with your receiver. It gets worse when you have to communicate via chat. An exclamatory mark might indicate that you are shouting, likewise when you type IN ALL CAPS!

Before this post digresses into a grammar class, let me go straight to the point. Between, wetin did I know?

WhatsApp etiquettes for social selling

1. Have an on and off time

I mean you should have an opening and closing time just like you would in a physical store. Do not get carried away with the seeming proximity between you and your client to feel you are free to chat with them at any time of the day.

The duration between your open and close time should not go beyond one hour per day to avoid spending too much time on the phone, thereby neglecting other duties. Also, make sure your chosen hours are during reasonable time of the day, too early or too late is is not professional.

This will present you as a professional who has time for other productive duties aside chatting away useful hours.

2. Use voice calls for urgent needs

If it happens that you need to get urgent information from your client, then use voice call. Call them to get your information directly instead of sending WhatsApp chat, which they might not even see immediately. A late response might irritate you, causing you to react impolitely. So, do yourself a favor and use voice calls in urgent situations.

3. Share useful information

After you have sold to someone via WhatsApp and they have confirmed satisfaction, do not go cold on them. Keep the communication alive but do not make it about selling another product.

If they bought a product from you, make it your duty to send them few tips on how to maintain the product for durability. If it is a perishable product, do share information on how they can use the product for best results. If it is something they have to install, be a human manual and guide them through installation.

These are after services that will put you in the good books of your clients and make them your best word of mouth advocates.

4. Loosen up

People prefer to do business with human, not companies. So, while being professional, do not forget to be human. Keep your clients close by giving them a sense of belonging in your business. Remember their birthdays, save their preferences when they buy from you and bring it up when they place a new order. Little things count and people love to be remembered.


Do you sell on WhatsApp? Do share your tips on how you deliver excellent service to your clients.

My pin of healthy vows and positive vibes

June 1, 2017 No Comments

Internal motivation is key.

Even if you work with a top class coach, take productivity classes but still feel demotivated, all your effort might not yield desired results.

The books you read, podcasts you listen to and the bootcamps you attend are available to complement your internal motivation. They are highly effective only if you channel your inner energy and get ready to take the bull by the horns.

It is undeniable that there are moments when you might feel overwhelmed and the desire to keep working might just die. This is why you need to constantly identify what drives you. Your driving factor today might not be very motivating  tomorrow. So you need a reminder to keep you on track, that no matter what you will always forge ahead, while remaining positive.

Read and download my pin of healthy vows and positive vibes below. I hope it inspires you.

1. Good things will always come my way

You need this affirmation every morning to help you appreciate nature and the good things that God gives to you free of charge.

2. I will reap the fruits of my labor

This mindset will make you to always look forward to keep working on what you started till you get the desired results.

3. I have the power to say no to procrastination

When you want to postpone that little task till tomorrow, remember you have the power to do it NOW.

4. I can and I will

Who says you cannot achieve what you set your mind on? Let them know that you can and you will. You just need to take that step today, now matter how minute. Just start it. Do you want to lose weight? Or start a business? Or attend business events for networking opportunities? Or you just want to adopt an organic lifestyle. You can do it and you will do it.

Positivity quotes for women
Hard press or right click to download

5. The Lord will not burden me beyond my scope

In the book of my faith, God says “And, behold, with every hardship comes ease”. He also says “He does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity”. So why do you want to despair? Just BELIEVE.

6. Others opinion of me is not my reality, I know who I am

People will always talk about you. And you know what? They will not always say positive things about you. Do you want to be bothered? Please don’t. You matter and you are making impacts, that is why people can spare time to talk about you. But you, aren’t you too busy covering grounds to bother about what people choose to spend their time on?

7. I will accept my failures as lessons and always look ahead

Whatever your blues, don’t hold a pity party – Toyin Adekola (yes, I quote too :))

If you’re not careful, you can fall into a destructive cycle of self-pity – Victoria Osteen

Self-pity is never useful. It tends to distort like a fun-house mirror – Anne Roiphe

Really, no one is above mistake. But be careful not to let your mistake turn you into a mess. Accept your failures as fast as you realized you’ve made one. Identify what you did wrong, and promise yourself to do better next time.

8. I will smile always because I know it is good for my health

Yes, smiling is good for your health and it also boosts your brain power. Moreso, it is free. So why not smile? Sadness be gone.

9. I will make healthy food choices always

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live? – Unknown

You need to eat healthy to function properly and be productive. Good food improves your physical, emotional and mental states. So always make healthy food choices.

10. I will ask for help when I feel overwhelmed

This sums it all up. If you ever feel overwhelmed either by the things you have to do or emotionally, please, please and please, do not hesitate to ask for help. A problem shared is half solved. Always be willing to open up and be ready to accept helping hands when they are stretched towards you.


I have added 5 extra lines to the graphic of this post. Download it and add your own affirmations, and do not forget to pin it to an easily accessible location.

To your positive energy, cheers!!

How to grow your small business with blogging

February 22, 2017 5 Comments

Having a business website is one thing. Keeping it alive so it can work for your business and bring you the desired results is another thing. Blogging tops the list of the several ways you can keep your website updated and ready to receive visitors, thereby generate leads that would eventually convert.

Keeping your website alive translates to making sure it is up to date with relevant information aside the static pages. There are several types of information that can serve as your blog articles. Infographs, videos, statistics, audio, reports, news, how-to posts, etc, are good examples.

If you want blogging to work for your business, your focus should be to address some or all of the issues that bother your audience, and solve them; that is, your blog articles should help them:

  • Solve problems
  • Overcome fear; and
  • Teach them new methods

With blogging, your website will standout from that of your competitors, who, instead of generating leads with beneficial information and authority recognition, are busy thrusting their products in the face of their audience.

In this post, I will cover the following topics in five sections. Click on each topic to jump to its section.

  1. What is business blogging
  2. How to set up a business blog page
  3. How to determine what to blog about
  4. How to remain consistent in business blogging
  5. Introduction to blog content marketing

Business blogging

What is business blogging

If you are just starting out, owning a website is not sufficient to create a working/profitable online presence. You need to add dynamic content that can help you get found by your target audience. You need to do business blogging.

Business blogging means operating a blog page for your business as part of the marketing strategy to get more online visibility. In business blogging, you publish posts or contents that are related to your business to attract readers who are interested in your products or services.

What you want to achieve is a relationship with your customers. A relationship that will impact your bottom line positively. Now, let us figure this out together; there is no relationship without communication, and the best of communication must be kept fluid. Your website copy can only do so much, but you will need much more than that to remain branded in the hearts of your customers. A blog page is the missing link; and it is just what you need to keep your website alive.

Having a blog page is very beneficial to your business in the following ways:

It serves as another means of communication

Your website is one means and a blog page is another important one. As I mentioned earlier, the best of communication must be fluid; involving some meaningful back and forth, coding and decoding. You cannot achieve this effectively with your website, regardless of its superb copy.

Your website contains information about your business that you want your customer to know (and sometimes, for the purpose of brevity, you keep some information out of your website copy, but you would still love to relay this information to the customers), but how does the customer respond to your copy? Fine, they can use the contact form. But a blog makes this easier; it creates topical issues that customers can respond to using the comment form. It actually incites the customers; draws them out of their cocoon into an informal meeting with you, where you can communicate the information that you have kept out of your copy.

It gives a boost to your SEO

The essence of a website is to be discovered by customers. It is all a game of image and visibility and at the heart of this game lies SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

People carry out millions of searches online daily and SEO is simply the array of tricks to get discovered. Search engines work by indexing every web page available. Your website will probably have about 8-12 pages which will be indexed. But each of your blog post is another page to be indexed in the search engines. The more pages indexed the higher the chances of your web page getting discovered.

So, it is like throwing darts in the dark, the more darts thrown, the higher the chances of hitting the bull’s eye.

It is a value added service

Your blog is another opportunity to give value to your audience. If you want them to read your blog at all, it must contain the information they want to learn. It must solve their problems, teach them new methods, and be related to your business.

When you publish posts or infographs that are related to your business, you will attract your target market, who are probably searching the internet for what you just published. It is only natural that you will remain in their memory due to the value you made available to them.

That is exactly what your blog pages are; baits to fish out your target market. Since you will be blogging contents related to your business, it only makes sense that only the people interested in your business will search you out and eventually do business with you when the time comes.

It establishes you as an authority

With a period of consistent blogging of quality content, your website will become the go-to page for everything related to your business. You become an authority to be consulted before critical decisions are taken. That is definitely good for your business.

Business blogging is broad, and this is by no means all that there is to it. But you should now understand what it means and why it must be number one on your online presence creation strategy.


Set up a business blog page

How to setup a business blog page

Setting up a business blog page on your website is as simple as ABC. All other things that make it seem complex are modifications which are usually not necessary.

Functionalities such as scrolling text and pop up bars sometimes require some bit of coding that you are probably not familiar with. So you do not have to worry about these modifications. All you need is just a blog page to show your target audience that you know your bit about the product or service your business offers.

Getting started

There are several platforms on which you can blog. We have Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Tumblr, Nairaland, etc. However, it is more advisable to blog from your own website, and republish your content on the aforementioned platforms.

Click to learn more about content replubishing

To blog on any of the platforms mentioned above, you need to visit the websites, create an account in your business name, set up your profile (add description, your website url, and social media handles) follow your interests and start writing. Each of these platforms have specific rules and regulations, ensure you read and follow them to avoid being penalised for breaching any of the rules.

To blog on your own website if you have one already, follow the steps in this post. You will learn how to design your blog to attract the right audience and publish contents that are search engine optimised.

To set up only a blog page (if you do not have a business website but just want to publish contents about your business/industry on the internet) you can use Blogger or WordPress and you do not have to spend any money to get started. There are several tutorials online that can help you succeed in blogging and the overall management of your website on these two platforms. However, bear in mind that it is more business wise to pay for at least a domain name if you want to occupy a more competitive advantageous position on the internet.

Click to get a rich resource on business blogging from HubSpot.


How to determine what to publish on your blog

So you have set up a blog page on your website and ready to start telling the world about what you have to offer them. Now comes the next item on your online marketing strategy – publishing contents on the blog.

Remember that your business blog is distinct from your personal blog, so whatever you put on it should strictly relate to your business. You may create another section on your website to showcase your activities if you want to give your audience a view of what goes on behind the scene. Your business blog should contain information that is deliberately published for the benefit of your audience who are also your target customers.

Here are tips to help you publish content that will attract your audience and keep them coming back to your site, till they are ready to make a buying decision.

Identify the common problems in your industry and solve them in blog posts e.g. how to protect your website from hackers, how to protect your poultry products from cold during harmattan/winter, etc. You can identify these problem in several ways such as:

By asking your target audience about their pain points

If you are able to identify your audience online or offline, ask them the frequent problems they encounter in their business. At times, it is not just problems that they are looking to solve, they also want to learn new methods to help them innovate and stay ahead of the competition. You will also enjoy additional benefits of gaining their early trust if your audience sees the originality of your concern about helping them improve their business.

Bear in mind that there are several formats by which you can deliver your contents; we have podcasts, videos, ebooks, blog posts, and infographs. I advise you use a mixture of these formats for content delivery. However, if you ask your audience what they love, you can make a decision of which one to produce more often.

The type of industry you are into is also important when make the decision of what type of content to publish more often. For example, if you are a fashion designer, you have to produce more of video content, that way, you will be able to pass your message across with more clarity.

Above all, relevant and consistent content matter most. Make sure you provide proven solutions and that you publish contents that are easy to understand. Use paragraphs, headings and lists where necessary.

The more you publish good content, the higher chance you have of your website being the go-to place for your audience when they encounter issues. With consistency,  you will become an authority that is either recommended to friends and colleagues or the first preference when the time comes to make a buying decision.


Business blogging consistency

How to remain consistent in business blogging

Consistency is the major strategy you need to be successful in online marketing. You must have a plan that you follow in all of your efforts. If you remain consistent, your readers will come to trust you and become more eager to do business with you.

However, if you are a new or small business you may find it costly to publish regularly. The cost here is in terms of finance to hire a good content writer and on the other hand, the hours you will spend writing, or preparing good content, if you are to do it yourself.

Learn how to schedule a post on WordPress

Here are some strategies you can adapt to help you keep your blog page up to date on a regular basis.

Keep a blogging calendar

You can keep a physical calendar by mapping out different days at the same interval in your diary. You can also set a reminder on your mobile device to alert  you before publishing day. This will help you gather your material and start writing long before the deadline.

Write bulk posts and schedule them for publishing

This method works well if you can dedicate up to three days per month to writing only. All you need do is to write down all your post for that month and schedule them for publishing at later dates. This is how it works:

Refer to your calendar to see how many posts you need to publish for the month. Make sure that the intervals between the dates are in uniform to ensure consistency. Write out a list of the topics you want to talk about. You may use Google trends to find out what is trending in your industry and write about it on your blog.

Let’s assume you publish once a week, that means you write an average of 4 posts per month. So start with a draft for all your contents. You may do this in one or two days, depending on the format and length of words.

On the third day, edit the draft, insert links and references (if you used any), also add the featured image. Do not forget to set up SEO for the content too. Once you feel the content is good enough, schedule each post for publishing according to the frequency on your calendar.

That is it. Your posts will go live on the fixed dates. You can always write and schedule for the next month during the last week of the present month. You may go back to the scheduled content to update or change them completely.

This method works in two ways. It helps you to remain consistent in publishing of contents and also enables you to share good contents, unlike when you do not plan well and you start writing few hours to your publishing deadline.

Outsource your blogging

This is the easiest way out if you are the very busy type who is unable to make any time for creating content. You can simply look for a good writer and a good video editor to work on your content for you. There are several companies and individuals out there who can perfectly handle your business blogging for you. Just make sure you go for the one that suits your preferences. I will talk more on outsourcing your business tasks in my next article.


Introduction to blog content marketing

Content marketing is the publication and distribution of good and relevant contents across several platforms. If you do it well, it can help you grow your business with a high profit margin.

There are several blogs that focus on content marketing. Do check them out for an indepth explanation.

The following are effective content marketing strategies you should explore. Each of the websites listed above have extensive contents on each strategy.

  • Article republishing
  • Content repurposing
  • Social media posting
  • Guest blogging
  • Network sharing

I offer content management services including blog update for businesses. If you are too busy to handle this aspect of business yourself, consider outsourcing it to me.

How to increase visitor engagement on your website

January 20, 2017 No Comments

Doing business nowadays is incomplete without creating an online presence; a series of strategies that causes your business to be found on the internet. One of these strategies is a business website. To enjoy the benefits and get the desired results from having a website, you need to optimize it for search engines and visitors interaction.

Below is a quick checklist of simple measures you should take to increase visitors engagement on your website and keep them coming back.

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