A majority of employees develop an urge to take a different career path at some point in their lives. This could be for several reasons, including the need to earn a better salary or simply work in a different environment.
Sometimes what people forget is that when they embark on a job hunting spree, it is necessary to know a few other skills outside your job description. Today’s employers want to hire people who can bring diverse skills to the table because this saves company costs.
Joseph Opio, currently working as a field coordinator in Eastern Uganda for one of the Non-Government Organisations, says earlier this year, he applied for a position of communications manager at one of the renowned companies in Kampala. He first sat for a written test before an oral one.
“The oral interview was the toughest because I had to face five panelists,” Opio says.
One panelist asked Opio whether he knew how to develop communication instruments such as programme fact sheets, template designs and Microsoft applications.
“Unfortunately, I only knew about the Microsoft applications and because I was nervous during the interview, I only remembered three; Microsoft PowerPoint, word and excel. I did not know anything about designs and fact sheets,” he says.
The panelists never got back to him. Opio believes he missed out on the job because of his ignorance.
“I did not know that these instruments were crucial for a communications position. If I had known earlier, I would have at least undergone training to acquire these skills,” he says.
Opio, like many other job applications, fail to secure particular jobs because of their limited skills.
One journalist who preferred anonymity says he once applied for a social media specialist position and during the interview, was asked how active he was on different social media platforms and whether he knew how to create digital marketing campaigns on websites.
“It was not very easy to come up with lies to these questions because it was easy for the panelists to do a thorough background check by simply logging onto different social media accounts. I had to tell the truth,” he says.
The journalist said he was mostly active on Facebook and did not even know how to operate a Twitter handle. He was also honest and mentioned that he did not know how to create digital marketing campaigns.
When another panelist asked him whether he had a personal blog, he responded, “not yet.” He did not get the job position.
There are some people though who have benefitted from having multi-skills and one of them is Sheila Mbabazi. In 2015, while working as a receptionist, Mbabazi decided to enroll for French lessons, which was a one year study programme.
“I had learnt French during my high school but I decided to enroll for the classes so as to perfect,” Mbabazi says.
Upon completion of the course, Mbabazi came across a job advertisement which specifically wanted an individual to work part-time as an interpreter. The organisation wanted someone who could speak both English and French.
“I applied and got the job. My bosses work mostly with French nationals who have difficulties speaking English. Therefore, this is where I came in to help do the interpretation,” he says.
Today, she is earning money from being both a receptionist and an interpreter.
Aaron Kiwanuka, a career consultant says the essence of attaining other skills outside one’s job description is that it opens up different opportunities for people.
“From acquiring other skills, you could get a better paying job,” he says. Additional expertise stretches an individual’s already existing skills.
Sometimes attaining these extra skills is a stepping stone towards getting a job promotion as well as remaining relevant in this ever increasing competitive job market.
More skills for your career
Communication. Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you will be a hot cake.
Teamwork. Employers look to team players to help build a friendly office culture, which helps retain employees and, in turn attracts top talent.
Adaptability. Employers need workers who can adapt to industry shifts and keep the company current.
Problem solving. Nothing is a given. Companies rely on problem solvers a.k.a their top performers to navigate unexpected challenges.