Career Tips

Have you ever wondered what your life could be like if you could live on your own terms?

Have you ever wondered how far you could go if impossible is nothing?

Think about it, who would you be now if you cannot fail?

Some people are held prisoners by their own imagination. They’ve resigned to living day-to-day. Their experiences of life are replete with difficulties, disappointments, hardships, and pain. This is not all to life. Life can be absolutely wonderful – and it should be – when you begin to live on your own terms!

Here’s how:

First, define your purpose and set 10x goals

“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The concept of purpose is rather troubling for a lot of people around the world. They’re not sure whether it’s possible for someone to know exactly why s/he was born. They live by whatever makes them happy. They have no direction and focus.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity of coaching several young professionals and entrepreneurs around the world – teaching them how to unlock their potentials and live their best lives, now. In a mentoring session with some Mastercard Foundation Scholars over the weekend, I endeavored to explain this concept (of purpose) to them. I told them that a man or woman actually starts to live when that one comes in contact with his or her purpose. Nevertheless, there’s no rule book that defines a person’s purpose. You have to find it.

Your purpose is what you were born for – it’s your mission for life! If you don’t know what it is, then you don’t have any direction in your life. You’re like a man who’s climbed a tall ladder only to realize in the end that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Your life will be out of course.

You’d be caught in the thick of thin things.

Your passion is for you but your purpose is for others. Click To Tweet

The easiest way to discover your purpose is by figuring out what you’re passionate about. Your passion gives you joy but when you use your passion for the greater good, that gives you a purpose.

Further, if you want to live on your own terms, you have to set goals that exceed your imagination. If your goal is not 10x what you could do on your own; if you could connect all the dots of your life, then you’re not thinking big enough!

When you set a 10x goal, you get committed. With commitment, you’ve reached your point of no return. In the words of Benjamin Hardy, “the fundamental core of the word “decision” means to literally cut-off alternative options. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously close the door on many others.”

What are you going to do with your life? How far do you want to go? The choice is yours!

Second, develop a discontent for mediocrity and mundanity

Tony Robbins says: “People have an endless list of things they believe they should do or should follow through on. But what happens when you decide something is an absolute “must?” What happens when you cut off any other possibility than you succeeding — when you decide that you are either going to find a way to make something happen or you’ll create the way yourself?

When you raise your standards and turn “should” into “must,” you are making an inner shift to take control over the quality of your life. Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.”

A lot of people are comfortable with an average life. They’re helmed-in and pinned down by the pains and pangs of neglect. They have a laundry list of excuses for why they couldn’t achieve their goals.

It’s time to excavate yourself from the ordinary. It’s time to transcend the norm, chart a new course and set the pace!

Go for excellence in your life, work, and relationships. Be an example of excellence. Invest in yourself. Saturate your mind and environment with quality information. If all you consume is junk, your life and results will not be any different – garbage in, garbage out.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. — Alvin Toffler

Become intentional with personal education. Get absorbed in the process and make your life a practical life. In this era – where knowledge is synonymous with money and power – you cannot afford to be uninformed. “The value of knowledge is increasing while the value of physical things is dropping fast.” As the world gets more complex, you must develop the skill for learning and compounding knowledge to remain functional.

Are you looking for a job or hiring entry-level talents? Join us at Quantum Leap Career Fair 2019!

When you understand who you really are, you’d never settle for anything that’s not excellent! Even if you’re the last man on the block before long, you’d become number one!

Here’s a pro tip: move from good to excellent. Deep down, you have something yearning for expression. Live what’s within you!

Abigail Foaty, shot by Nana Afriyie

Third, create massive value and give more than you take

“The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.” — Joe Polish

If you want to live your life on your own terms, you must consistently create massive value and give more than you take. Every successful person knows this: The secret to long-term success is creating excessive value. They work from a point of transformation and not transaction. They’re not trapped by me, myself and I small-mindedness that often lead many to greed and unhealthy competition.

Become an artist and a master of your craft. Think differently.

Writing in an Entrepreneur article, self-development author and business coach, Brian Tracy captures 7 ways to create value in your job, business or products for greater success. Says Tracy, “when you begin thinking of increasing the speed at which you deliver your product or service, improving the quality, add value at every stage of production, increasing the convenience for your customers, giving better customer service, catering to changing lifestyles and trends and finding ways to reduce the actual cost, you will be astonished at the incredible number of ideas and possibilities that exist around you.”

Benjamin Hardy, best selling author of Will Power Doesn’t Work unpacks this further: “When your motivation is to give, you’ll often get insights into how you can improve your relationships… You’ll have more ideas about how you can improve other people’s lives and businesses. You’ll start contributing more, which will lead to far more opportunities and deeper relationships. People will come to love and trust you. Your work will be motivated by a higher cause and thus will be far more inspired and impactful.”

Last, create “A-Game” partnerships

Abigail Foaty, shot by Nana Afriyie

The new industrial convergence is creating more value and opportunities for businesses to adapt to technological and societal advances. However, navigating this fast-changing and continually blurring environment requires immense agility and forward thinking. More than ever, collaboration and teamwork have become paramount for progressive growth and success.

If you want to live your life on your own terms, you must surround yourself with people whose insights can help you make quantum leaps in your business or career. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Everyone that achieved success or any form of breakthrough had help along the way. They had people who supported and held them accountable to their goals. I have written more about how to create “A-Game” partnerships in this article.

* * *

You can live your life on your own terms. You can and you should! If you followed the steps I shared with you in this article, they could help you put in the pieces to actualize in a year what might take others decades to do. You’ll transform your life. You’ll become a mystery to others.

But remember this: every step of the journey towards living your life on your own terms will need focus and intention. While I cannot promise it’ll be easy, I can assure you, however, that it’s worth every sacrifice! This is why we’re creating a fantastic event to bring professionals at different stages in their career together at the 2019 edition of Quantum Leap Career Fair. SFAN events always push the boundary and we’ve done a good job in developing the content for this one! I hope you can join us – register here (apply the code *QLCareerFair19* for a discount).

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider sharing it so that others can find it! Are you looking for a job or hiring entry-level talents? Join us at Quantum Leap Career Fair 2019!

About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image Credit: Abigail Foaty by Nana Afriyie

Being a failure is a state of the mind. Don’t confuse your result with who you are. Click To Tweet

Have you ever put so much work into something and it failed?

Have you ever missed a big opportunity?

Have you ever been in a situation where it looks like you’re the dumbest person on the planet?

I’ve been there, and I know it hurts.

It hurts to throw yourself into something, and it doesn’t work out. It hurts when denied an opportunity you know you’re qualified for, and other less-qualified people got selected. It hurts to see everyone else progressing, but you’re still stagnant. 

Many people, when they experience failure, start thinking that is their destiny. They buy into what Les Brown calls “the never lies”: I’m never going to amount to anything; I’ll never be happy.

Their self-image gets destroyed by their experience and life becomes meaningless. They live day-to-day and every waking moment is mental torture. They’re like the woman in the book, The Alchemist, every day is just the same and there’s nothing to hope for.

If you’re going through a failure situation, I have good news for you: There’s a science-based formula for reinventing yourself! I know it works because it worked on me. While I cannot promise you fame or fortune, I can guarantee, however, that if you apply these principles, you will not only reinvent yourself, but you will be rightly positioned to do remarkable things in life!

3 Steps for Conquering Failure & Missed Opportunities

Step 1: Detox your mind

“Success and prosperity are nothing more than a way of thinking. We need to think differently.” – Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group.

woman taking photo while smiling

Nutritionists and psychotherapists have found several reasons why we need to occasionally detoxify our bodies: To remove toxins from the body, prevent chronic diseases, lose weight, enhance the function of our immune system, and so on. Likewise, we must occasionally detox our minds.

The problem with many people is that their mind has accumulated several layers of negative silos from their experiences of failure. They’re afraid of taking risks because they think they will never make it. This is what experts call associative conditioning – your mind preventing you from taking actions it links with pain and pushing you to the ones it links with pleasure.

If this is you, take heart, you can break that cycle from today! How? By detoxifying your mind!

Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University developed a groundbreaking learning theory called a growth mindset. It’s a sharp deviation from the common belief that a person’s talents are cast in stone. A growth mindset is a concept that revolves around the belief that you can improve intelligence, ability, and performance. It is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. In other words, failure is not final, it can be conquered with efforts.

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Is your life on track or are you drifting? Are you feeling stuck and powerless? Do you feel overwhelmed?

The good news is: Whatever damage negative, limiting thoughts have done in your life can be undone by you detoxifying your mind. Hence, you can begin, now, to fill your mind with positivity. You can begin to believe that things always go well with you. You can begin to believe that you’re a success. You can begin to expect amazing things to happen – and research says the universe will correspond to the nature of your song!

Mind over matter? Yes, but that’s not all. You have to take actions that resonate with your new self-image. Create a picture of who you want to be and propel your life in that direction through massive action (we’d take a deep dive into this in point 2). When you believe something, you commit to it.

Step 2: Define priorities and cut the clutters

Some people chase too many things at the same time. Their attention and energy strains between several options.

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown explains that, for centuries, that word “priority” was singular. It meant the first thing. Before somewhere around the 20th century, when the plural “priorities” magically surfaced, there can only be one first thing. Today, a lot of us are choked with several first things that we’re stumbling.

We’re in motion yet without tangible results. It’s time to press a pause on your endless to-dos and check your life:

  • What have you achieved in the past two years of your business, career or life?
  • What are the failures you’ve experienced in that process?
  • Is there a correlation between your lack of focus in your success or failed efforts?
  • What is the one thing that if achieved will move your life further?
  • What has been a drag to your life that you need to let go of?

When you’re done ferreting out answers to these questions, then it’s time to commit. If you’re a business owner, you’d probably discover that your lack of focus and strategy is sapping your energy. In other words, you’re a control freak and it’s killing your productivity. It might make sense to delegate or outsource the activities that do not rank within your strengths and specialize in those you excel in.

If you’re a student, you may realize that you’re spending too much time on other stuff instead of your studies. It’s quite easy to slack at school these days. The truth is: Education is still prime, regardless of your aspirations.

See, success is not accidental. Being a “jack of all trade or gonna-doer” does not translate to success either. It makes us lousy because, as Tony Elumelu said, you can have it all but not at the same time.

Pinpoint where your time and efforts are going, set your focus on a specific target, seek mentor support in guiding your path, and, commit to a course of action.

Focus your energy on those things that move you closer to bigger opportunities. To quote McKeown, “only once you give yourself the permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

Step 3: Create “A-Game” partnerships

Several research studies have tested the correlation between accountability and success, and the results always pointed to a similar conclusion: “Publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of completing them. And, having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%.”

Why is this so? Why is there a high chance for us to follow through on a commitment to someone else than to ourselves? The reason is simple: We’re far more likely to lie to and let down ourselves than someone we trust and respect.

Believe it or not, accountability works – every, single, time.

Consequently, when it comes to choosing your inner circle, you need people who hold you to high standards. You need people who are transformational and self-motivated. This is what I call “A-Game” partners.

Says Benjamin P Hardy: “The mere fact that most people avoid accountability is a powerful reason to create LOTS of it in your life.”

Your “A-Game” partners are innovators – they are continually pushing boundaries and breaking molds. They understand they’re responsible for their lives and results hence they take action in creating the outcomes they want.

One of my “A-Game” partners is a young woman I met a few years ago. Although we come from different backgrounds, we share similar worldviews. To her, the world is binary: If you’re not winning, you’re losing. If you don’t know something, learn it.

Her unique insights and simple approach to life are remarkable. We intrinsically challenge each other to grow further and outdo our pasts.

Do you have an “A-Game” partner? Do you have someone to whom you can peel off your life without the fear of being judged or criticized? Are you carefully choosing your network or are you tiptoeing around with losers?

If you don’t have good people around you, find some. And, don’t just find one, create an army. Immerse yourself in a network of people who inspire you to become better. Remember: Relationships thrive when each party is pulling along. So, don’t just take, give back.

You can overcome failure and missed opportunities

If you’ve experienced failure or missed several opportunities, this is the time rewrite your story. Be patient with yourself as you practice the following three steps: 1) detox your mind, 2) define your priority, and 3) create an “A-Game” partners.

Being a failure is a state of the mind. Don’t confuse your results with who you are. Every failed attempt moves you further. Another thing I want you to remember is that just because someone else is prospering doesn’t make you a failure – focus on your own journey. Invest in yourself, improve your worth, become inspiring. And, the next time an opportunity comes knocking, you’d be ready!

About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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The World Bank in conjunction with the United Nations held a number of different events in various countries around the world on October 17 to mark the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, 2018. These include an inspiring in-country dialogue session and interactive video conference on the theme “Africa’s Youth and the Future of Work”.

Although different speakers pivoted on the value of soft skills in today’s workforce during both the in-country and video conference event, the questions of some of the participants at the Accra event show that a number of people are not particularly sure about what constitutes soft skills and how to develop them.

Of course, the panelists, as well as myself, gave further useful interventions on what soft skills are and the need to cultivate them as a student or job seeker. However, after speaking with one accounting student that approached me after the session, I made a mental note to share further thoughts on this subject. In this article, you will learn what soft skills are, why they are becoming increasingly important, and how to essentially develop them.

So, let’s take a deep dive –

What are Soft Skills?

I think that the best way to understand soft skills is by understanding hard skills. It is generally accepted that hard skills are what you learned or studied in school that can be defined and quantified on paper. Specifically, they are competencies like an ability to use software tools, writing, doing accounting and so on.

On the flip side, soft skills are those abstract, intangible skills that are difficult to quantify and are not usually taught in the classroom. They are skills we use in navigating everyday life and making human connections. Soft skills are often referred to as transferable skills or professional skills.

From data collected in over two years of our methodological research in making sense of the persistent disconnect between education and industry requirements, below are three main sets of skills employers categorize as soft skills:

  • People Skills – this includes teamwork, interpersonal skills, communication, leadership, and customer orientation.
  • Self Reliance Skills – this includes self-awareness, proactivity, willingness to learn, self-promotion, networking and planning action.
  • Life Skills – this includes problem-solving, flexibility, business acumen, critical thinking, and commitment.

The importance of soft skills in today’s competitive, fast-paced, digital work environment cannot be overemphasized. The more intelligent technologies continue to redefine our workplace, the more human cognitive skills are sought after.

In fact, soft skills are becoming today’s hard skills. You can be the world’s best software engineer or accountant but if you don’t know how to work with people; if you cannot communicate your thoughts clearly; if you cannot deconstruct complexities and proffer simple solutions, you will not be of much use to anyone.

Candidates that demonstrate these competencies will always be farther ahead in the workplace. Academic qualifications obviously have their place; they open doors but soft skills are what keeps you on the job.

How do you develop soft skills?

There are many activities that can help you cultivate soft skills. Programs like SFAN’s Readyforwork Career Coaching Program are super important in developing your soft skills. Through personalized educational contents crafted by employers, one-on-one coaching, and team conversations, participants are equipped with practical skills and exposed to real-world projects that empower them to take ownership of their career aspirations and grow in confidence that yields success.

Also, engaging in community service and volunteer programs are crucial ways of improving your soft skills. They help you generate goodwill that comes from teamwork and collaboration. Volunteering is also a great way to sharpen your leadership skills, networking skills, and problem-solving skills.

Furthermore, participating in group discussions, events and social networking can be another way of developing your soft skills. Learn to speak up whenever you have the opportunity and get comfortable standing in front of people. If you are afraid of public speaking, well my friend, you’re not alone – 41% of people across cultures around the world are terrified about public speaking. The vital thing to note is that public speaking is not a performance but a conversation from your heart.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is that nothing is a given. Things change fast and knowing how to think on your feet is a skill that’ll take you places. I can write about this in two books because of its importance in the workplace today. Train yourself to be a problem solver. The most uninspiring thing you can do is to be the girl or boy that always go to your boss or team leader with problems. Everyone sees problems but not everyone sees solutions. Hence, before you point out a problem, have a solution on hand. It will set you apart from others.


The good news is that all these soft skills are learnable. With careful observation and practice, you can improve on each and every one of them. The most interesting thing about human being is that nobody is born smart – we all start at zero. Believe it or not, there was a time when Einstein couldn’t do his ABCs. Chimamanda Adichie definitely didn’t start her career as a great communicator. Neither was Barack Obama a remarkable leader as a teenager. They all learned and practiced these crafts until they perfected it. Now that you know the traits you should cultivate for the future of work, you too can do the same! Sign up here to receive more tools for career development and to be in the know about our epic events and training programs.

About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Have other tips you want to add? Drop them in comments! If you enjoyed reading this article, consider sharing it so that others can find it!

By Liz Grossman, M.D at Baobab Consulting

As our world globalizes, so does our workplace. We are able to build businesses, form teams, and attract clients with people who live all the way across the world, using internet and communication technology innovations such as WhatsApp, Google Drive, Zoom and more. We are able to attract and retain clients who live in completely different cultures and build international teams. The world has become a global marketplace, and talent from across the globe is accessible using just a touchscreen.

It can often be challenging to work with people who come from a different background than you, even though technology makes it possible. These differences involve national cultures as well as factors that may lead to conflicting values and behaviors, such as age, gender, education level or ethnicity.

Many employers, both domestic and international, want to work with people with intercultural competencies, such as multilingualism, work or educational experience abroad, or even just having a professional or personal experience away from home. But how can you acquire the skills to ensure that you are building your relationships based on trust, respect and mutual understanding?

Here are 5 tips:

1) Expose yourself to different kinds of people

In both your social and professional worlds, you should put effort into meeting people who are different from you and get as much exposure to their world as you can. When traveling, make it a point to spend time meeting locals and if you are lucky enough to get invited to their home, say yes. If someone invites you to take part in one of their customs, always accept. Even in your home city, you can push yourself outside of your regular comfort zone and attend meetups like International or other mixers. If you come from a city, go stay in a village with friends or family and immerse yourself in their life. At the very least seeing and interacting with people out of your normal circles, you will have a vantage point to speak about when it comes to intercultural experience.

2) When building the relationship, learn the basics but don’t be afraid to ask questions

Do the basic necessary research. You don’t want to go into a meeting with a Malawian government official without even knowing where it is or what language they speak. Certain questions, though, can show your interest in their context. Check the latest local news and ask them for their opinion on current events (pick wisely, as you do not wish to start an uncomfortable debate on the first go!). As you begin to work together, start to find out what their favorite foods are, what they do on the weekends, who their colleagues are and what the traditions are in their culture. Even if you have never been to their country, they will be happy to see you are trying to understand.

3) Be flexible in your work style and methods

When you enter a professional relationship with a person or a company, you will find many types of workstyles and methods. Some variations can be chalked up to personality, but others will be deeply ingrained cultural practices or environmental realities that will be hard to change quickly. For example, Americans tend to be more focused on email communication, but if we work with local staff based in a rural village in East Africa for example, we might get the information we need faster if we send a WhatsApp message, which takes less internet bandwidth to send and receive. Be flexible in your own work style and methods, and make sure to adapt to the new context in order to actually achieve your goals.

4) Share your strengths with humility, and be open to learning

What is amazing about intercultural relationships is the potential for learning and growth. With each person coming from different education and belief systems, there are vast endless skills that can be transferred. However, no one likes to feel patronized or that one person is a know it all, particularly when it is a foreigner coming in and imposing their ways. Assess what people want and need to learn from you from a realistic and humble perspective, and deliver in a way that engages them. On the flip side, be receptive when your colleagues wish to share new ideas with you and do your best to incorporate them visibly. This mutual benefit will assure that all parties are growing and sharing their values together.

5) Assume positive intentions and address misunderstandings

Unfortunately, there will always be mishaps and no one will be perfect. It can be very difficult to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and even the most culturally sensitive professional can make mistakes. It is important to assume that the other party has positive intentions, and do not take these misunderstandings personally. It is also important to discuss the root of the issue and understand what happened so that you are better equipped in the future to avoid the same mishap.

Remember, relationships are built over time. This is a process — If you work on building these relationships today, you will see fruits of your labor over time, and build a network of strong intercultural relationships which will allow you to have success in future.

What other tips do you have for building better professional intercultural relationships? Drop them in comments. Get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here

This Post is Part of SFAN x Baobab Consulting Collaboration Towards Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana.

Image Credit: Liz Grossman

It used to be when you want to connect with people you don’t have access to, you look for someone to introduce you to them. But with tools like Twitter, connecting with anyone and everyone is one direct message (DM) or mention away.

Although many pundits are writing Twitter obituaries with #RIPTwitter, the numbers tell a different story. With about 328 million monthly users, Twitter is an incredible resource for personal branding and making vital connections.

If you are a job seeker, Twitter can help you discover great companies and people who work in them.

More so, Twitter helps you amplify your voice. A recent, notable example is the story of this Ghanaian teacher who educates his students on computer technology without any computers. The image of him using a blackboard with a diagram of Microsoft Word drawn upon it became an immediate sensation on Twitter. It took just one tweet from The Queen of African Tech, a nickname for Rebecca Enonchong of AppsTech, for Microsoft to commit to supporting him and his school.

So, how can you catch in on this whirlpool of resource to make your career move?

Below are actionable insights on how to build an image that gets you hired.

Tweet Your Way to the Boardroom: Simple Hacks for Personal Branding on Twitter

#1: Role model the pros

The first step to mastering this nirvana is to understand how it works. Like many things in life, observation is key to learning the in-game of Twitter. Therefore, connect with the pros and learn what they do.

Seriously, do not send any tweets until you have mastered how to weave up smart and crafty tweets that get attention. Sharing loose and random thoughts might hurt your career in the future because recruiters will always look you up when you apply for jobs.

The beauty of Twitter is that one connection can lead you to a whole new community. Use tools like MentionmappTwitalyzer, and HootSuite to easily plot a savvy graph of influencers, professionals, and companies to follow. It’s important that you follow companies you hope to work with.

#2: Define your identity

When it comes to personal branding, identity is everything. That begins with your username, keep it professional.

Choose one to three subjects that interest you and build your equity around those subjects. If it is true that you are what you eat, it is equally true that you are what you tweet.

Make it easy for anyone that visits your profile to clearly see your achievements and focus.

You cannot be everything to everyone, but you could be something to everyone. 

Select a profile cover that reflects your purpose, use a profile picture that looks the part of the persona you’re building and make your bio a marketing tool to highlight what you have achieved and what you care about.

The chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki, is very popular of social media and his rule of thumb is to always have a professional business attire photo of just your face for profile pictures.

His Twitter bio starts with a mantra that reads: I empower people.

Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) _ Twitter - Google Chrome 04_03_2018 05_22_20

#3: Find your rhythm

When you have fine-tuned your gig to highlight your vision and interests, the next step is to find your rhythm.

Decide the tone and voice of your tweet and when/how often you want to communicate with your followers.

Gather Content defines the two concepts as follows:

Voice: your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.

Tone: a subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds a specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.

The Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan Lee, takes it a step further in this article. Essentially, he says, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice. Voice is a mission statement, tone is the application of that mission.

As much as your aim is to remain visible to recruiters, being circumspect with what you tweet and when you tweet is needful. Products like bitly provide valuable data that helps you gauge the reactions on your tweet and measure the peak times to tweet.

Give your tweet an opportunity of being retweeted by tweeting when your followers are online.

Furthermore, pay attention to your language and tweet structure. Don’t always use all the 240 characters. Experts say around 100 characters is the sweet spot.

When you have chosen a language structure, try to keep it up. The idea is to be professional while being as real as possible.

#4: Share valuable content

As marketers will say, content is still king. Therefore, focus on providing insights, valuable tips, and useful resources.

You don’t have to be an expert to do this – the internet is filled with resources you can share. Do not repurpose another person’s content without attribution. You will lose credibility if you plagiarised.

Also, you can start your own blog and share your perspectives with your network. If you make your handle a go-to resource for useful tools, people will respond equally.

Twitter is great for amplifying your messages through retweets. If you need help with this amplification, search for viral words and phrases that you can include in your content to boost its visibility.

Screen-shot-2014-03-13-at-2.31.49-PM Screen-shot-2014-03-13-at-2.32.03-PM

Remember, whatever you tweet will show up on someone’s timeline, so think of how they read your contents.

P.S. Before you retweet or share a post, it’s always advisable that you read it to avoid sharing contents that are not in line with your brand image. Also, use hashtags sparingly.

Use Google Link Shortener or bitly to shorten links. And add an image to your tweets as it improves your chances of getting retweets (Locate a website for free stock images and other tools in this post.)

#5: Connect with the community

Twitter is about making connections and engaging with people. Keep your tweets as conversational as possible and communicate from your heart.

Don’t always focus on gaining popularity or going viral. Popularity has its place, but relevance will always trump cheap popularity. Many times, the value you offer to your community is the most important thing.

Make out times to read tweets of companies and people you want to connect with.

Be a promoter, support their cause and be generous with your retweets and comments. Everyone likes a compliment and affirmation but make sure that it doesn’t come out as spam.

If you have to DM, be sure to state the exact action you need the person to take. Sending “hello, how are you?” to someone is usually not a good communication line – especially when you don’t know each other. People are busy with several things, so be specific with your ask and follow up when you don’t hear back from the person. However, be strategic with the frequency of your follow-ups.

#6: Evaluate and recommit

Reviewing your activity is important for building your brand and connecting with the right people. In the world of social media, things change very fast and you must continually evolve.

Always make time to scroll through your timeline and read your tweets with an outsider’s eye. Review and refine your communication.

Use the tips from point one to create benchmarks that makes you progressive. When you have mastered the art, you can always create your own process.

Building a brand requires tact and patience. If your goal is to build a brand that hiring managers will literally fight over, you must do it with intention.

Tweet and get hired!

Twitter is a very powerful tool for connecting with a global community. Whether you’re a complete novice or a Twitter pro, the hacks above will help you become so relevant that companies will pay you to represent them.

We’d love to hear what you’ve tested and how it went. Let us know in the comments.

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Image Credits: Dan Zarrella, Maskot/Getty Images 

Internships are super important for every college student today. Apart from them being ways of exploring the world of work, they help you acquire job experience. Recruiters will hire someone with a job experience rather than someone with a general resume.

(If you are looking for feasible tips and strategies on how to prepare for your dream career, level-up with this inside scoop from hiring managers.)

Many companies are increasingly investing in internship programs as a recruitment tool for full-time jobs. Therefore, your ability to distinguish yourself from other interns contributes towards your chances of getting hired. In this post, I will give you a cheat sheet for making that happen!

  1. Have a clear goal

Internships are investments in your future. They move you even closer to actualizing your career goals. Consequently, you need to have a goal for your internship. Be specific about what you want from the opportunity and work towards actualizing it every day.

Your goal must not be extraordinary; it could be skills you want to learn from the job and how you want to be remembered afterward. The effect of your work is often the most important thing.

Endeavor to merge your goals into your supervisor’s goal. No matter how significant your goals are, if they are not in congruence with that of your boss, you are running a losing race. Therefore, be clear about what he or she wants from you at the end of the day and use every opportunity to actualize it.

  1. Be a fast follower

Here is a rule of thumb: the first reason for an internship is to gain a hands-on, real-world application of what you study in college, and to get an experience of what your everyday life will look like on the job. So, to make the best of this opportunity you must learn as much as you can from your colleagues and your assigned tasks.

There are two kinds of people in every company: the high achievers and the lagers.

Find out who the stars are and understudy them. Learn how they approach their jobs, how they dress, communicate, relate to others, and so on. Find out what makes them shining stars. Success leaves crumbs and if you show a genuine interest, you will learn one or two vital lessons.

It might not always be easy to make a connection, so you need to be smart. A gift often opens many doors, buy something like a cup of coffee for him or her (be the person is the coffee type though) or bake them their favorite cookie. If that doesn’t work, find out what they are working on and see how you can be the “Mike Ross” to their “Harvey Spectre”.

  1. Be indispensable but be professional

If there’s anything I can guarantee that EVERY boss dislikes, it’s having to do the work you should do. The fear of “turning assistance to resistance” is the major reason many interns are not given responsibilities beyond minor errands.

So, your job is being that intern that goes above and beyond in executing tasks. Take initiatives, volunteer when the need arises, and don’t leave at the end work of every work day until your boss tells you to leave.

Depending on the company you work with, make time to connect with people in other departments as well. However, do not take more deliverables than you can finish on time. Learn to manage your expectations because you might not always get credit for your work or ideas. Above all, don’t be sloppy – present yourself in the best light.

  1. Network but keep your eyes open

Relationships are the currency of the future. No matter how good you are, if no one can vouch for your competencies, you do not exist. Your internship gives you the opportunity to connect with your workforce field. These are people who can point you in the right direction or serve as mentors as you progress in your career journey.

Nevertheless, don’t be carried away with networking and making connections that you forget your priority – your job.

More so, there is a fine line between networking and flirting. The latter is dangerous for your career. It’s easy to create a reputation for things that are not interesting so be sure to know when the conversation is changing tones.

Finally, leverage platforms like LinkedIn to keep your connections together. If you want to go a step further, create a MailChimp account and add your contacts to a list. Think of it as your personal brand’s mailing list.

  1. Seek Feedback

Here’s another thing most interns do not know: no one expects you to know everything about the job or company. Consequently, one of the smartest things you can do is to seek for and respond to feedback. Ask for help or clarifications because asking is a sign of maturity. Many interns have made terrible blunders because they were afraid or proud to ask. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s the right way to ask for feedback:

  • Listen: Don’t be in a hurry to explain or excuse yourself, listen to understand the speaker’s point of view. In the end, the reason for feedback is to make improvement so listen to understand not to have a ready answer/argument.
  • Ask for clarifications: If the feedback is surprising, ask for clarifications. Perceptions are often deceiving so be sure to understand what is required.
  • Observe: Observing your co-workers and being more self-conscious could also be a fantastic way of seeking feedback. Observe the reactions of the people you engage with and adjust yourself so. Furthermore, instead of always looking to your boss or supervisor for feedback, consider asking your colleagues. They are the ones that interact with you the most and will often give you some of the most insightful feedback.
  • Act: Acting on the feedback ensures the loop is kept and helps you improve. In a situation where the feedback is difficult, take time to adjust and then go back to the speaker with your questions. In any case, be sure to express gratitude for the feedback no matter what it sounds like.
  1. Show gratitude

The ‘attitude of gratitude’ is an asset; it’s the rub for making lasting impressions. When you finish your internship, show appreciation for the opportunity given you. If you do it right, you would have shifted the odds in your favor towards a full-time job.

Make efforts to share specific skills you learned on the job and thank everyone that helped you in the process. You could also add an individualized touch by sending separate notes to each person that assisted you instead of a general thank-you letter.

However, a thank-you letter is not a tool for ranting or sharing your frustrations. If you have recommendations you wish to make, express your views politely. More so, make sure that every information you share is correct. Equally important, don’t ask for a job bluntly. Instead, you could ask for is a LinkedIn recommendation.

Finally, include your contact details and any other useful information. If you wrote a blog post about your experience (this is a great marketing tool for the company), add a click-through link to the post in your note.

Internships are great investments in your future. Nevertheless, to make the most returns on investments, you must 1) have a clear and precise goal for the opportunity, 2) learn vital job skills, 3) go above and beyond in executing your tasks, 4) create lasting connections, 5) seek for and respond to feedback, and 6) show appreciation for the opportunity.

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here

Image Credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

A Discussion of The Future of Work at The Quantum Leap Career Fair 2017


They say the future is automation and it sure seems that way. If you’re following the trends in technology, it looks like the robots are coming and they’re coming for our jobs. In the car manufacturing business, robots have taken over the assembly line. Things that needed to be done by humans are slowly being replaced with robots. Soon enough, these bots could move from the assembly line and make their way into the service industry.

Technology is slowly replacing people who offer services. Before I got hooked on ExpressPay to pay for my airtime credit, I used to buy scratch cards from the guy in the streets. But now I can easily whip out my phone and easily purchase credit online. I really have no need to buy from the guy in the street selling credit or the person at the corner with an umbrella stand with a table advertising mobile money transfers.

In the US, I hardly had the use of a fuel attendant to fuel my car. I just used my credit card and swiped at the machine and entered the amount I wanted. Is it too far-fetched to think that the same thing can’t be replicated at Ghanaian fuel stations? Perhaps fuel attendants may need to think about another line of work. If Shell or Goil can make use of those systems, why hire people to fuel your car for you?

Those were the themes that were touched on at the Quantum Leap Career Fair 2017 at the British Council. The event was put together by Stars From All Nations (SFAN), a high impact social enterprise that bridges the gap between education and work.

The event was created to talk about the future of jobs in Africa. Are the robots coming for our jobs? Is AI ready to take away service jobs from the next generation?

Lucy Quist: The Hero We Need In Our Society

Lucy Quist answering questions from the audience

The keynote speaker for the event was Lucy Quist. Lucy is currently the CEO of Airtel. She’s a strong advocate for STEM and girls education.

She’s a very eloquent speaker. Her address focused on what was happening back in the day with computers and automation to the present day where things she was doing in the past could easily be replicated with the use of an app on your smartphone.

She was very passionate about what she talked about and it showed during the Question and Answer section where she answered questions from the audience about education, changing mindsets and slowness and inefficiency of government services.

It’s great to be in the presence of people like Lucy Quist because she’s the type of person that gets it. She really believes that people themselves need to get better and improve and not look at government to always save them. Her views don’t just focus on Ghana but on the African continent as well.

Collaboration, Robots and Hidden Figures: Summary From The Panel

Quantum Leap Career Fair 2017 Panel
Quantum Leap Career Fair 2017 Panel

After Lucy Quist’s marvelous keynote speech and Q&A, a group of panelists was up next to talk about the future and changing nature of work in Ghana and Africa.

The moderator for the panel was my internet crush Jemila Abdulai, the founder, and editor of Circumspecte.

Jemila Abdulai of Circumspecte

The panelists included Yasmin Kumi (Founder of Africa Foresight Group), Josiah Kwesi Eyison (Co-Founder of iSpace), Amma Baffoe (Head of Recruiting at MEST), Genevieve Puni (HR Practitioner from RecTrain Services Limited) and Paul Payne(Manager of British Council Skills Hub).

A lot of issues were touched upon including being business minded and entrepreneurial, adapting to the future of the coming of AI and robots which seems inevitable and thinking outside the box and upgrading your skillset through the use of the internet and networking.

It was mostly agreed that even though the robocoplyse is coming, it will be a slow build before it has adverse effects in Ghana. But generally, people will need to adapt and still stand out if and when AI or bots take over. An example from the panelists about ‘adapting’ was a reference to the movie “Hidden Figures”, where the three main female characters taught themselves programming because they foresaw their replacements being IBM computers.

Another interesting topic which was started by Josiah Kwesi Eyison (iSpace) was the idea of collaboration. It seemed that Josiah felt like the British Council were seemingly competitors instead of collaborators in the tech space when it came to training and skills specialization.

Paul Payne of British Council Skills & Innovations Hub

Paul Payne (British Council Skills Hub) made a rebuttal and said that it was not the intention of the British Council to compete with the likes of iSpaceand noted examples of other hubs that the British Council had collaborated in the past. The matter was seemingly resolved and it looks like iSpace and British Council will be collaborating in the future with some upcoming events.

Looks like everybody wins.

During the wrap-up and final thoughts from the panel, Amma Baffoe gave a great message to the audience (which was full of young university students) about what she would have done differently at school with the things she knew now. She said she would have gotten an internship or a part-time job while at school to improve her skills. She would have also taken advantage of more events (including the Career Fair) to network with people in the industry. I think the message hit home with lots of people in the audience nodding in agreement with what she was saying.

Amma Baffoe telling the audience what she would have done differently if she was in university

The Machines are coming for some of our jobs whether we like it or not. From the event, it looks like a way to combat this is to adapt and get with the times. The internet has brought about different ways to learn and upgrade your skills. You can find dozens of videos on the internet about to how to code, how to build and just about do anything. British Council and iSpace are helping with young kids to do more by giving them entrepreneurial skills. Genevieve Puni (RecTrain) also touched on having soft skills. Even though the robots can do a lot of things, there are still going to be a need for people to do analytics on documentation and written reports and also to have leadership skills.

Truth be told, I’m a fan of automation. It makes things more efficient and better. But I am aware of the effects it has especially when it replaces the jobs of humans. But like the panelist, I do believe in upgrading yourself with more skills to avert the coming of the robots. It’s easier now for me to learn how to code, how to write better, how to produce videos and even how to set up this website and create content which you are reading now.

The robots are coming. But it doesn’t mean it’s all gloom. We just have to prepare for it.

This article was first published by Tech Nova Gh

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