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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Job hunting skills

Job search drive one insane, don't be one of them. (Source: ASA)

Laduuuma, you hold your vuvuzela as you celebrate the fact that you have completed your academic studies. it’s a dream come true. On this day  many of the  graduates are  on a jovial mood as they celebrate their achievement. The truth of the matter is that for many graduates and diplomates , the celebration will be short lived as the reality hit home that they need to find employment as soon as they possibly can. I believe that looking for an employment doesn’t start at graduation day, but well before the big day. Herein I documents tips on how to look for a job, while you are still reading towards your qualification. Start looking for a job now, and if you land yourself a bursary that’s also good.

  • Register with a reputable employment agency.
  • Send UNSOLICITED CV’s (These are CV’s that are send to targeted employers without them having to advertise a vacant post.) You basically tell them to put your details on their database.
  •  Register your details with the career office at your campus. They help finalist and alumni to get jobs.
  • Do buy newspapers (e.g. The Star every Wednesday houses the section called “Workplace”, get Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian and Jobmail.)
  •  Get hold of the Graduate Recruitment Handbooks or Career Magazines (e.g. GradX, and CareerSA). These magazines and handbooks are obtainable from the career office at your campus.

Furthermore, do subscribe to the following websites. They house job opportunities. They are also available on facebook and twitter.

  1.  www.prospectingbasics.com
  2.  www.quest.co.za
  3.  www.pnet.co.za 
  4. www.sagra.org.za
  5. www.gradx.net
  6. www.lucksters.com
  7. www.joblistsouthafrica.com
  8. www.firststep.me
  9. And, websites of your targeted employer. (e.g www.mazars.co.za if you need to work for an accounting firm or www.bowman.co.za if you need a career in law)

Further hints & tips as adopted from a career magazine.

“Theo Smit, who heads up the management consulting division at Premier Personnel, says that graduating students need to be re-energised during this period. “The last six months is about getting up with a new-found energy and starting to look at web portals, attend presentations and seek out career advice”  (GradX,2010)

“You need to change your whole philosophy. Nothing is worse than waking up on 1 January and saying that you need to find a job. You must take a discipline approach, research companies that interest you, write well-structured introduction letters with specific contents and monitor the market” (GradX, 2010).

“This is the time to fine-tune your CV. In addition to good grades, prospective employers look for candidates who can demonstrate more than their academic prowess. They want to see if you have part-time work experience or volunteered to work for a charity, if you have participated in campus societies, received any awards, attended conferences or taken part in sporting events” (GradX, 2010).

P.S: Remember, looking for a job is a full time job. Be positive, be proactive and yes nail that interview. GOOD LUCK!!! 🙂

If you have some job hunting skills that you have learned or dealt with the hard way and yielded positive results, please share your experience and tips on a comment box below.

WARNING: Please beware of job scams!!!!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in General

 

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Entrepreneurship and education are not mutually exclusive events……..

Mdu E Gama

Dr Mdu Gama is a chairman of MduGama Investments and also South Africa's first Doctor of Finance. (picture appropriated from: City of Johannesburg's website).

For far too many years we have come to convince ourselves that education and entrepreneurship cannot happen at the same time. Entrepreneurship is a process of taking an initiative to start a new business, and similarly education is the process of learning, and acquiring new skills. Developed countries around the world invest greater resources on programmes that focus on entrepreneurship. We cannot dispute the fact that entrepreneurship is a cornerstone to a stable economic growth. It is for this reason that entrepreneurship, innovativeness and competitiveness is the paradigm we must embrace.

Many upcoming entrepreneurs or start-up entrepreneurs show the determination, the will, innovativeness, energy and drive to start world-class businesses that will offer world-class products and services. These are indeed good qualities and prowess to have as an entrepreneur. However, the worrying factor is that many tend to discount the value of education [academic education]. With education one can learn invaluable skills that cannot be acquired anywhere other than the institutions of higher learning.

The maxim that exists among most start-up entrepreneurs is that education and entrepreneurship are mutually exclusive events; they in fact believe that entrepreneurship is the only way out. People like Dr Mdu Gama and Adrian Gore invalidates the myth that “education and entrepreneurship is a mutually exclusive event”. These two entrepreneurs are highly successful in their businesses, (with Gore at the helm of Discovery and Gama running his own investment firm) and yet they are very educated.

On the other hand, as aspiring entrepreneurs, we might convince ourselves that education is not a necessary route to be a successful entrepreneur. They use worn-out examples of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, to support their claims without acknowledging the fact that such entrepreneurs are the exception. Dr Mdu Gama says that the number of entrepreneurs who have made it without formal education has been decreasing over the past two decades.

In the knowledge economy we are now living in, education has become an imperative commodity in society. It is a knowledge economy because many things are centered around the accumulation of knowledge, information and generation of new ideas. This was further supported by Dr Ntokozo S Mthembu, when delivering his commencement address at Tshwane University of Technology, he said then that:

Some of you must define your niche in this global community. It means you must by necessity adopt an entrepreneurial approach. Be a visionary, be a leader. Create Value! View life as education, education as life and grab the opportunities available to you. Take advantage of those initiatives established by government to further your ideas, your education and entrepreneurship.

As an aspiring entrepreneur and you ignore the reality that education may give you the competitive advantage, would be irresponsibility of the highest order. Whatever you do, however you do it you dare not stand still lest you be overtaken! Or in the words of Nelson Mandela – “I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended”.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Business

 

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My South Africa

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Free .

By the power that might be, what will happen if South Africans can take diversity as a point of departure? I mean we need to start embracing diversity as a solution to real problems (more about that in future articles). Oh thanks to South Africans such as Prof Jonathan Jansen, who despite all the odds see all the beauty in this country.

He wrote a very moving article about South Africa. here’s  to me, sharing a thought-changing article……Enjoy.

My South Africa is the working-class man who called from the airport to return my wallet without a cent missing. It is the white woman who put all three of her domestic worker’s children through the same school that her own child attended. It is the politician in one of our rural provinces, Mpumalanga, who returned his salary to the government as a statement that standing with the poor had to be more than just a few words. It is the teacher who worked after school hours every day during the public sector strike to ensure her children did not miss out on learning.

My South Africa is the first-year university student in Bloemfontein who took all the gifts she received for her birthday and donated them – with the permission of the givers – to a home for children in an Aids village. It is the people hurt by racist acts who find it in their hearts to publicly forgive the perpetrators. It is the group of farmers in Paarl who started a top school for the children of farm workers to ensure they got the best education possible while their parents toiled in the vineyards. It is the farmer’s wife in Viljoenskroon who created an education and training centre for the wives of farm labourers so that they could gain the advanced skills required to operate accredited early-learning centers for their own and other children.

My South Africa is that little white boy at a decent school in the Eastern Cape who decided to teach the black boys in the community to play cricket, and to fit them all out with the togs required to play the gentleman’s game. It is the two black street children in Durban, caught on camera, who put their spare change in the condensed milk tin of a white beggar. It is the Johannesburg pastor who opened up his church as a place of shelter for illegal immigrants. It is the Afrikaner woman from Boksburg who nailed the white guy who shot and killed one of South Africa’s greatest freedom fighters outside his home.

My South Africa is the man who went to prison for 27 years and came out embracing his captors, thereby releasing them from their impending misery. It is the activist priest who dived into a crowd of angry people to rescue a woman from a sure necklacing. It is the former police chief who fell to his knees to wash the feet of Mamelodi women whose sons disappeared on his watch; it is the women who forgave him in his act of contrition. It is the Cape Town university psychologist who interviewed the ‘Prime Evil’ in Pretoria Centre and came away with emotional attachment, even empathy, for the human being who did such terrible things under apartheid.

My South Africa is the quiet, dignified, determined township mother from Langa who straightened her back during the years of oppression and decided that her struggle was to raise decent children, insist that they learn, and ensure that they not succumb to bitterness or defeat in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the two young girls who walked 20kms to school everyday, even through their matric years, and passed well enough to be accepted into university studies. It is the student who takes on three jobs, during the evenings and on weekends, to find ways of paying for his university studies.

My South Africa is the teenager in a wheelchair who works in townships serving the poor. It is the pastor of a Kennilworth church whose parishioners were slaughtered, who visits the killers and asks them for forgiveness because he was a beneficiary of apartheid. It is the politician who resigns on conscientious grounds, giving up status and salary because of an objection in principle to a social policy of her political party. It is the young lawman who decides to dedicate his life to representing those who cannot afford to pay for legal services.

My South Africa is not the angry, corrupt, violent country whose deeds fill the front pages of newspapers and the lead-in items on the seven-o’-clock news. It is the South Africa often unseen, yet powered by the remarkable lives of ordinary people. It is the citizens who keep the country together through millions of acts of daily kindness.

Source: This article first appeared in the January issue of Mango Juice, an in-flight Magazine.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in General, Leadership

 

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What can we learn from the Buffet family?

As people around the world were watching the royal wedding, I mean the wedding of Prince William of Wales and his fiancee Ms Catherine Middleton, investors  of Berkshire Hathaway were preparing for the company’s AGM (annual General Meeting).

On the 30 April 2011, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway hosted their annual general meeting. Warren Buffet, now 81 year old remain my all time favourite person.  Not only does he inspire me with his intelligent way of investing, but also with his dedication to philanthropy.

In practice, just before the annual general meeting, listed companies send what is called “Notice of AGM” to their shareholders. Notice of AGM (annual general meeting) is the letter that notifies shareholders of  the upcoming companys’ general meeting. Berkshire Hathaway is not an exception to this practice. Earlier this year, when Berkshire Hathaway send the letters to its shareholders, I also managed to put my fingers on the copy. I am not saying that I am a shareholder of Berkshire, I will need to work for donkeys years to afford one unit of stock in Berkshire, but I checked that letter out of curiosity.

Financial illiteracy is a problem in Africa. We need a mechanism in with which the problem of financial illiteracy can be addressed. According to the Saving institute of South Africa, about 2% of South Africa’s working population are saving.

Financial literacy can be defined as follows:

Financial literacy is the combination of consumers/investors understanding of financial facts and concept, and their ability to appreciate financial risks and opportunities to make informed choices, to know where to go for help and to take other effective actions to improve their financial well-being.(OECD)

When I was paging through the said letter, I stumbled upon a very good letter that teaches about how to save and keep excess money in reserve. With this letter one can learn the power of saving  and financial independence. This was the letter written to Uncle Sam Buffet  from dad on how to save for stormy days. Uncle Sam is Warren’s dear uncle.

I believe that this letter contains a lesson or two that can lead one to financial independence. Click the link below to read the letter.

letter to uncle Sam

On an unrelated chain of events, how true is that  Osama Bin Laden has been killed?

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Business, Economics

 

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