How job seekers can rebrand for the current job market

Job seekers meet job providers during an open day event to network job seekers and job providers at Kigali Cultural Village in 2019. Sam Ngendahimana

The coronavirus pandemic has continued to create challenges. A number of companies have closed down while others are laying off workers, and this has intensified the issue of unemployment and consequently pushing many into a sudden job hunt.

Because of the current dynamics, succeeding on the job market will require more than the right résumé, career experts warn, adding that one needs the right tools and developments to stand out in a time of crisis.


Katherine Turinawe, the Human Resource Manager of KCB Bank Rwanda says taking into consideration the impact of Covid-19, the main thing that job seekers will need to do is to first understand that a lot of people are losing their jobs because companies have to scale back.


And because of this, there is going to be a lot more people on the market, she says noting that previously it was hard to find a job but now it’s going to be harder.


“There are more people on the market who have experience, skills and the issue is that they were just not able to be retained where they were so these people probably have a leg up and that means if you are one of the inexperienced you will have to look for a way to stand out,” she says.

With this, Turinawe advises job seekers to figure out what the essential skills on the market are going to be moving forward in whichever industry it is that they are targeting.

“You have to do your research and understand what the particular skills are that even with the impact of Covid-19, they will still be looking for them. Ensure that you are well positioned or equipped.”

She emphasises the need to sharpen one’s expertise in an area by making various platforms such as websites that offer information.

“Even those who have jobs should be brushing up on their skills and see how they can become more relevant and ensure that companies are willing to spend their resources on them to help them recover,

“Know that what made a great candidate has now changed it’s not about the degree, or the university you went to but more about the skill set that you have and how relevant it is,” she added.

Ndirangu Ngunjiri, Managing Partner at Watermark Consultants underscores that having a degree does not guarantee your dream career, for one requires the correct education, skills, and experience in order to be competitive on the job market and stand out from the rest.

He advises job seekers to manage their social media platforms efficiently since most of the employees now first engage with online profiles before they invite one for a job interview.

“Build a strong online profile in what you write on your social media platforms, regularly update your profile with the previous assignments, research work, and have colleagues recommend your skills.”

Ngunjiri recommends gaging your current skills to see whether they match the current openings and keep on upgrading.

“Skills demand on the market has completely changed, acquiring the relevant skills in the modern world such as passion for the work, problem-solving skills, communication, and presentation skills. Learning a new language indicates your seal to expand your skills, adding relevant certifications will enhance your chance of getting a job or growing your career ladder.”

The value of networking

The managing partner says joining a professional body relevant to your skills is the best thing to stay relevant with the modern trends in the industry.

A potential employer always requires you to have been a member of a professional body because you have ethics to adhere to. These bodies have various membership forums that makes you have more information on any opening available. Staying in touch with the relevant contact even if not looking for a job, an opening may arise and they remember you, Ngunjiri notes.

He also mentions developing relevant experience through a voluntary or unpaid internship for having experience offers more opportunities and helps in deciding the relevant job path.

“Regularly update and customise your resume to the currently available opening to indicate the experience and skills the potential employer is looking for in any candidate.”

Learning different cultures on the other hand, he says, has proven relevant since it helps one develop as a person, by helping in adapting faster in any work environment.

When applying for international job openings, this will show you’re resilient in working and adapting to different cultures and new places.

Have references that know your skills and experiences such as a previous employer or colleagues who will speak of your ethics and skill levels, he says.

Public and private institutions are looking for more creative people in this challenging world. Being creative will assure your employer you’re innovative and effective.

“Employers are looking for someone with leadership skills, someone who is able to play it well and gets real results for the organisation. Someone who is able to make good judgment, control, and mentor colleagues. The more you prove you are well respected, well-liked by a colleague the more you have a chance of getting a job.”

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