Be intentional when you reach out

I received an email from a reader this week. After several back and forths, we settled that the fellow emailed me the inquiry. He later did. Sadly, I was not aware in time, as the email went to my junk folder.

I felt terrible when I realised his email was flagged as spam. It takes time and energy to reach out to someone.

You might be wondering why I am mentioning it here. You will understand in a moment.

After reading the email, there was no straightforward question, inquiry or call to action. It was bare.

Again, I felt terrible.

This fellow took the pain to reach out to me and successfully caught my attention. But then what?


They got nothing back ☹

I did not reply. Not because I did not want to, but because the email had no question or call-to-action. Sadly, I closed the email and moved on with other routines.

So what does this mean for you?

We reach out to people daily. We have individuals we want to speak with or get in touch with, whether for job opportunities, career development or other professional development reasons.

Ensure you are clear in your email when you reach out to them. It will help them and help you as well.

Communicate the question or request such that a seven-year-old can understand. Don’t reach out just for the sake of reaching out. If you miss your first shot, it will take a miracle for your network to read and respond to your future messages.

We live in a busy and fast-paced world.

Therefore, be clear, concise, intentional and specific when reaching out.

Let them know your “why”.

Do not leave them wondering.

Do not leave them hanging.

Do not leave them guessing.

Get it right the first time!

I hope this helps you.

Remember, you can always respond to this email if you have questions. I will be on the other end to take them.

Why I Did Not Apply For Jobs Online After Graduate School

A friend recently asked me whether he should apply to jobs online after his degree. He was completing his graduate degree in the UK and hoped to find a job that fits his skills.

I shared my thoughts with him and will do likewise with you.

After my graduate degree in 2016, I sent many online applications to multiple employers in hopes of getting in. The magic did not happen.


I was competing with the world.

You see, any job ad that gets posted online is visible to the world. It’s on the web and visible to anyone with internet access. Your grandma could see it and apply if she wanted.

Take for example, I see a job ad online for a Finance Officer, and I was interested. Essentially, I’d be competing with the following categories of people:

  1. Individuals who are currently employed and want to change jobs for the sake of it.
  2. Those currently employed who wish to change jobs because they want a new challenge.
  3. Experienced individuals who recently lost their jobs – thanks to COVID, layoffs, etc.
  4. Those wishing to apply because they want more money
  5. Internal candidates already working at that company wishing to step up.
  6. Internal candidates wanting to bring their friends into their company.
  7. Individuals with permanent visas or citizenships (if it’s not your home country).
  8. Your classmates or colleagues that recently graduated from your class

The list goes on.

Have you seen why I never heard back from any of the jobs?

I was fighting the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in miracles. They still happen. But when you have limited time and resources, you put your time and energy into where your odds are higher. It’s smarter.

Clearly, I was an underdog. I was an international student on a temporary visa with limited local experience. There was nothing special that would make employers come chase after me.

Here’s what I did instead:

  1. I followed small companies (0-70 employees) I was interested in and connected with staff heading my preferred roles.
  2. I contacted professionals working in roles in companies I liked via LinkedIn
  3. I let friends and mentors know I was looking for jobs. They also let their friends know.
  4. I attended small networking events.
  5. I developed and brushed up my online profiles.

Once I did this, I started gaining traction, which finally led to job offers.

Of course, some exception occurs. Your odds are higher if applying online for positions with mass recruitment exercises – think of those consulting firms having annual recruitment events where they hire many graduates. Your odds are also higher if living in locations where skilled workers are scarce.

The good news is that you only need to do this at the initial stages of your career. I no longer have this challenge.

These days, I go right in and apply online. Why? I have solid work experience that will catch the eye of any employer.

Once you have amassed enough work experience, you can return to applying online. At this time, you will be more competitive.

Why all these stories?

If you are an underdog in a similar situation as I was and struggling to land a job, consider other strategies.

I wish you the best.

How Solid And Valuable Is Your Network?

Many professionals have misunderstood the true meaning of network. This explains why it is severely undervalued.

So, what does networking mean to you?

Finding yourself in a large hall, about the size of a stadium, filled with strangers and exchanging business cards? Nope. Far from it.

A strong network of people is that pool of human capital that you can quickly tap into when you need (to exchange) ideas, information, and assistance for personal or professional reasons.

I will share a true-life story to help you understand the true value and meaning of a network.

A friend of mine was running out of contract. He needed to move on to another contract as soon as possible to secure his job.

So, what did he do?

He reached out to his network and let them know he was seeking opportunities and what he wanted. After a few days, two of his connections linked him up with various jobs, and he got another contract and settled in a new role within one week.

According to him, he’d always had this pool of people within his reach and was constantly engaging with them when he was not in need.

Is your network this strong?

A strong network gives you instant access to human capital and resources when needed. It becomes a bit complicated if you don’t have this pool of people ready to go.


Because you can’t simply tap on a stranger’s shoulder and expect instant help. People help those they know and trust.

So, here are the takeaways for you:

  1. The greater your network, the easier it is for you when you need access to information, resources, and opportunities.
  2. The best time to network is when you don’t need them. Having a network pool ready to go will make your life easier when you need information.
  3. Don’t network with the aim to receive. Help others when you can.

So, how should you start expanding your network?

Start with LinkedIn. It’s the powerhouse of millions of professionals from over 190 countries. Connect with me here.

Other useful resources:

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week. Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

I wish you the best.

Are You A Lover-Boy Job Seeker?

Getting attached to a role or a company as a job seeker is expensive for your physical and mental health.

In 2019, I met a young professional who had just arrived in Australia. He was seeking roles to help him get started in the country. Living costs were high, so it made sense to start earning an income.

After drilling through a list of employers, he had an unusual interest in one of them.

This one employer seemed very special to him because he knew some people working for the company who had said some nice things about the organisation.

Thankfully, one day he realised they were hiring for his chosen role. He quickly prepared and submitted his application.

He was expectant, hoping he would one day start working with some of his allies.

After two weeks, he was shortlisted for an interview. He smiled deeply, like an early sunrise on mother earth. The interview email felt like an actual job offer.

Confident. He proceeded to the organisation to attend the interview, like a teenager going out on his first date.

Of course, I wasn’t there with him at the interview, but he sounded like he exceeded expectations.

According to him, he answered the panel well and was confident he would get in.

After three days, he received an email that his application for the role had not been successful.

His jaw dropped like a truck offloading gravel at a construction site.

He shook his head in amazement.

He yelled in shock; I could hear him from the other end.

He couldn’t believe the outcome.

I picked up key lessons from his experience that I would like to share with you.

Keep Going After You Apply


The message is clear.

Do not stop after you submit one application. In his case, he was committed to this one firm that he thought would be working with his friends.

He let his friends know after he applied and interviewed.

Do not halt your job application process because you have found a god-company you wish to work for.

Yes, it’s okay to have firms you desire but do not limit this to just one so as not to be met with shocking surprises.

Manage Your Expectations Correctly


Remind yourself that a job application differs from a job offer.

Unless your own the company, there might be little you can do to influence the outcome of your application or interview.

Therefore, managing your expectations is crucial to your physical and mental health.

A job application is not a job offer.

Have the right expectations.

Closing Thoughts

Job hunting is a long and tedious process. Sometimes, it takes months to land the job you want finally.

Therefore, do not limit the scope of your applications to an entity.

Developing a growth mindset to keep going after you apply and manage your expectations correctly is crucial to your well-being.

There is little we can do to influence the outcome of job applications, but you can do more to enhance your health and well-being.

Do not set all your mind to one application.

Plant seeds daily by expanding the scope of your applications and hope for the best.


Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Best Time To Look For Work Is …

Davis is a full-time Engineer with a top multinational company. He loves his role and enjoys the work. His work develops his skills, and he’s happy with his income.

Davis loves his lifestyle, gets paid time off work, and can afford anything he wants.

Davis got in as a temporary employee on a five-year contract and is sure to be with the firm for at least five years.

Twelve months into the contract, Davis’ employer told him the funding had been cut for the project and sadly, the project would end in 30 days.

Davis told me he is looking for work to continue living the life he wants. He hopes to find another job to maintain his lifestyle within 30 days.

This article is not about Davis but elaborates on how many young professionals deal with job transition.

Many young professionals are never ready for the next phase of their careers.

After engaging with many young professionals, I realise that everyone’s job search strategy differs.

Many will argue that the best time to apply for a job is when you are looking.

It makes logical sense. Why spend so much time and effort looking when you don’t need something?

The time and effort could be channelled into another activity to reward your effort.

I agree with the logic, but It’s different with job hunting.

So when is the best time to look for work?

Start Today

Photo by on Unsplash

The best time to start looking for work is today.

It doesn’t matter if you already have a job or not.

It doesn’t matter if you have the most paying job in the world.

You start looking right away.

I realised this when I lost jobs in the past and was left with nothing. I had to start looking immediately, which often did not produce quick results. I had to wait many months before I could find another job.

I have learnt my lessons.

Now, I am always on the lookout, although passively.

I look at internal and external job ads to understand their requirements.

I often do not apply for these roles. I save a copy of the job ad to read again later if I found any interesting ads.

You Don’t Need To Be Ready To Look At The Market

Photo by on Unsplash


You don’t need to actively seek to browse and apply for jobs. You can and should always read position descriptions of exciting roles.

These may be the roles at the level above yours. The goal is to help you prepare and understand what the employers need. It might also be to network with those working in these roles.

In my case, I connect with similar people in these roles to understand how they work and their current challenges.

In addition, I look at who the roles report to and start building my network on LinkedIn.

Building your network while busy with your day job doesn’t hurt.

It helps you connect with those that matter and can help you get ahead in your career.

The best time to network is when you don’t need them.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know when to start looking for your next job, I encourage you to take action. Don’t wait until you need a job.

Sometimes, It can be challenging to land a job when you need one. The best time to look for a job is when you don’t need it, and that time is now.

It’s fun looking for jobs when you are not looking. You can look confidently and choose the jobs you want without pressure.

You can tease out the positions that do not interest you and focus on the ones you want.

When you are finally ready to apply, you would already have information on:

  • Which companies or departments regularly advertise for roles
  • Which managers hire regularly
  • The skills you need for the role (and you already prepared for this)
  • What to expect from the job (after speaking with those in the roles)

Use this strategy to your advantage and get ahead in your career.

Don’t wait until you need a job to start looking.

Be smarter with your job search.

Play offensive and start now.

I wish you the best.

Beware Of Free Career Advice

I recently overheard a conversation between a friend who was speaking to another friend.

We will call my friend John.

John was relocating to a new country to start a new life. It was an opportunity he had waited on for a few years. He was glad his dream finally came through.

He could now begin to plan for the next phase of his career.

I was happy for him.

One evening, John was on the phone with his friend who lives in his destination country. He wanted advice on how to land a job as quickly as possible. John knew there would be challenges at his destination and sought to get quick guidance from his friend.

The free advice the friend gave to John blew my mind.

Beware Of Free Advice

John received advice to submit 100+ job applications daily.

My heart skipped when I heard this.

Is that even possible?

Thankfully, I was around John and shared my thoughts on why the free advice might not be a good idea.

But Why Is This Not A Good Idea?

You might have heard that quantity is better than quality. Unfortunately, this does not count with job applications. With job applications, quality is critical.

It can take up to 4-6 hours to prepare a solid job application for a given role.

Applying to 100+ jobs daily meant:

  • John would apply to all these jobs using one resume
  • John wouldn’t customise his application to the job
  • John might not even read the job description at all

Sadly, this technique is not effective and practical. These applicants hardly get shortlisted for an interview.


Their applications are not tailored. Employers spot them quickly, and they are hardly shortlisted for an interview.

The result?

They lengthen their job search journey.

Listen But Validate


If you find yourself needing career advice, I will recommend speaking to career experts and individuals who are experts in the field.

This group might be able to offer valuable information to assist with your career journey. I also recommend speaking to more than one professional to vary and validate the information you receive before deciding.

Closing Thoughts


Beware of free advice you receive from friends, colleagues, and associates. Everyone tries to help, but unfortunately, not everyone provides helpful information.

Taking bad career advice can severely hurt your job search process.

Beware of free career advice.

Listen but always validate.

I wish you the best.

Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Tools I Use

Video Animation Software for my YouTube channel:

WordPress hosting to develop my website

Grammarly – To help me write better:

The Popular “To Whom It May Concern” Phrase

I recently read a cover letter with the popular “to whom it may concern” on it. This phrase is supposed to be representative of the individual that will read this cover letter.

While this line has been added unintentionally, possibly owing to ignorance or lack of more information, The first phrase had me thinking for a moment.

The Problem With “To Whom It May Concern”

While to whom it may concern might sound cool and let you move on to submit your application, I think job seekers can do better.

Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario A: You receive a letter with “To Whom It May Concern”. What thoughts would go through your mind? I am sure you will take a moment to verify whether the content belongs to you.

Scenario B: You receive another letter that is personalised and directed to you.

Here, you need no additional information. It’s obvious the letter has been written to you.

When I receive emails or letters with “To Whom It May Concern”, I feel the letter or email might not be for me. I have to take a closer look to assess the content.

In some cases, especially when I am busy, I may not have the opportunity to dig further, particularly if the content does not appeal to me at first glance.

It’s the same with cover letters too.

What You Should Do Instead


When writing a cover letter for any application, address it to a human where possible. I have done this for several years in my cover letters for job applications, and the difference has been remarkable.


  • It is directed to a person, and they feel the need to take action in most cases.
  • It feels special when you receive a letter or email directed to you. You feel it’s your duty or responsibility to take action.
  • You are genuinely interested in knowing the content of the letter.
  • If possible, you own the content and want to take it to the next step. You feel a sense of duty.


What If The Contact’s Name Isn’t Readily Available?


Sometimes, the job ad doesn’t have the hiring manager’s information. Here, I recommend you contact the company and ask for these details. It might look like additional work, but the benefits are enormous.

This extra step might look stressful, but it might help unlock more information.

As a last resort, if you can’t access this information, it might be helpful to write to a head of a department or unit using a broad job title and the department.

This option still looks better than To Whom It May Concern; however, I prefer to have a named individual.

Closing Thoughts

Cover letters are fantastic. They can make a difference in your job application.

When writing cover letters, think about the next person.

Do you want the fellow to feel obliged and the need to act on your cause, or do you want them to start analysing whether the letter belongs to them?

You can make it easy for them to move on with you by addressing your next cover letter to the hiring manager.

Agree. You might not always have all the information you need, but seeking to get this information will be helpful.


Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Tools I Use

Video Animation Software for my YouTube channel:

WordPress hosting to develop my website

Grammarly – To help me write better:

Get Your Bullets Ready

I recently posted on Twitter about getting a raise at work. In this Twitter post, I suggested that it was much easier to show value before going into the negotiation room.

A reader responded to me and said: “Well, we should just ask anyway.”

I’m afraid I have to disagree with this position even though I understood her reasoning.

You see. Asking for something you deserve is never a bad idea. After all, we have freedom of expression. In addition, employers expect you to make these asks occasionally during your engagement.

Asking Just For The Asking Won’t Get You Far


While it’s easy to ask for the sake of asking, it won’t get you very far.

Salary increase discussions can be very tense and fragile.


Because most people are not very good at making an ask. It’s challenging. We are not wired to ask for money.

Unfortunately, this is a skill we must develop.


You don’t get it if you don’t ask, especially in some industries.

So, while asking, you want to ensure it’s the right moment and you have the right reasons.

More importantly, you’d need some strong points to help you negotiate better. I call these strong points “bullets”.

Your bullets can be results, accomplishments, KPIs achieved, customers acquired, revenue growth or anything that has improved due to your input.

Why Value Is The Real Deal For Negotiations

“Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive potential you have and, in recognition of all this, would you mind having your salary halved.” – Theodore Roosevelt


Some years ago, I found myself in this position. I knew I needed to have a conversation with my manager about getting a raise.

Before getting greedy, the first thing I did was outline recent successes and achievements within the team. I knew I would need to make a strong case for myself to achieve the desired outcome.

In the end, it was a fruitful conversation. The manager found reasons with me and took action immediately.

Now Imagine I didn’t have bullets to support my ask. I am sure it would have been an awkward conversation.

Again, the best way to seek a raise is by asking on the premise that you have added value to your team or employer.

Employers love to see results. Going into the negotiation room with an entitlement mindset instead of a result mindset might not end with the desired results.

Before ringing your boss or asking your manager for a meeting to discuss your raise, ensure you have your bullets ready to strengthen your case. You want to come off that meeting accomplished even if your request was not granted immediately.

Closing Thoughts


Asking for a raise at work has become a norm, especially in the private sector.

Sometimes employers might not see the need to increase your salary because they are too busy with other priorities or don’t see a need to do so. It’s never a bad idea to ring the bell by inviting your manager for a quick chat about a potential increase in your salary.

However, before taking this leap, ensure you’ve got some bullets to strengthen your case.

“It is not illegal to negotiate effectively.”
― Dax Bamania

Entering a room with an entitlement mindset without results might not end with the desired results.

So, for my Twitter reader who responded to me, I’d say again that the best way to go into any negotiation is by having bullets ready to aim and fire up your salary increase.

Do not negotiate simply because you think you deserve more money based on your personal circumstances.

Arm yourself with bullets before that negotiation.

Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week using Videoscribe.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Tools I Use

Video Animation Software for my YouTube channel:

WordPress hosting to develop my website

Grammarly – To help me write better:

Put Your Best Foot Forward

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

— Will Rogers

Tim Ruscica, one of my favourite Youtubers for learning programming, recently made a video. He shared feedback on the quality of the application he received after he announced his team at a start-up was hiring.

Tim is a great programmer and knows what he wants in people. He clearly knows his stuff, having started programming in his early years. His channel has over one million subscribers and continues to grow daily.

During his 14 min long video, he stated why most applicants didn’t progress to the next stage of the hiring process. He also provided feedback for future applicants wishing to apply for a role in his team.

In one of many feedbacks he provided, he said job applicants often started with a poor introduction and didn’t create great first impressions.

He mentioned how some applicants started with phrases along the lines of “A beginner programmer…”.

According to him, he didn’t look at these resumes any further. He popped them straight into the bin.


They had the wrong intro. They started off on the wrong foot.

He said didn’t care if you were a beginner developer. All he wanted was someone who could develop games for his team.

Tim’s story reminded me of what a great resume should entail. I recently shared this in a Twitter thread.

But do you think Tim was harsh in his approach?

We will see in a second.

A Wrong Intro Will Send Your Resume Into The Bin

“First impressions never have a second chance.”

— Charles R. Swindoll


Starting your resume with the wrong intro can quickly send your application to an early grave. It will get buried fast.


Resumes with a faulty intro sound boring. They drain your energy like an act of betrayal.

Even though this applicant might be a confident game developer, he didn’t introduce himself on a solid note.

His entry was wrong, hence the decision to discard his resume immediately without further reading.

Would I do the same?

Most likely.

Hiring Managers Are Not Very Patient

“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.”

— Cynthia Ozick

Hiring managers are busy people. It’s common knowledge that most employers spend less than 10 seconds on a resume.


They probably have tons of resumes in their emails, waiting for review. Unfortunately, you can’t get five minutes to look at your CV.

They scan the essential points and decide whether you’re a good fit within seconds. This is why your resume needs to be as clear and concise as possible and hook the reader.

The hiring manager would look no further if your entry were wrong, no matter how good you are and how great the other information you have in your resume is down the pipeline.

  • Always put your best foot forward first.
  • Ask yourself if your career summary or overview speaks to the job you have applied for.
  • Check whether an employer will get hooked and be happy to progress and shortlist you for an interview after reading the first couple of lines.

Remember, your job is to hook the reader with a strong entry.

Closing Thoughts

Job hunting can be stressful. Applicants must continuously fine-tune their application to get the hiring manager’s attention.

Ensure you market yourself properly by putting your best foot forward to assist the hiring in seeing why you are an excellent fit for the role.

Ask yourself: what would you write if you had 20 words to write something punchy and make your case?

Remember, a resume’s job is to sell you by presenting a compelling story about you.

Find a solid hook, start strong and put your best foot forward.

I wish you the best.

Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week using Videoscribe.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Tools I Use

Video Animation Software for my YouTube channel:

WordPress hosting to develop my website

Grammarly – To help me write better:

Do You Have A Career Evangelist?

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” — Zig Ziglar

Some time ago, my contract was running out. I loved the role and the people, so I looked forward to working with the organisation for longer.

Although my contract still had a few months to expire, there was no need to wait until the very last minute to take action.


Finding work is easier when you aren’t actively looking for a job.

Finding a job can sometimes take time, and I didn’t want to find myself in this debacle.

So how did I manage this transition?

Instead of depending solely on online job applications (which I could have done), I hit my internal networks. I let them know what I was looking for and the opportunities I was after. It’s crucial to be as specific as possible with your request.

About a week later, I got another contract.

Sweet yeah?

It still feels like magic to me today.

Honestly, I didn’t do much.

But who did the heavy lifting?

My Career Evangelists.

They went all in for me.

It turns out that these people also reached out to their networks to let them know. This step had a multiplier effect.

I developed trusted working relationships with these professionals and helped them solve critical problems.

They have witnessed my skills firsthand and could readily attest to them. Beyond this, I kept in touch with them and occasionally shared ideas.

So, carrying and sharing my gospel beyond borders wasn’t challenging for them.

Here’s my question to you now:

How Many Career Evangelists Do You Have?

“The new form of networking is not about climbing a ladder to success; it’s about collaboration, cocreation, partnerships, and long-term values-based relationships.”

— Porter Gale


Do you have any at all?

There’s a limit to where your skills can take you as a professional.

In addition to being good at your craft, which is the skills component, you also need solid relationships and a good character. Jon Acuff writes on this well in his book “Do Over”. You need skills, character, relationships, and hustle to advance your career.

Your relationships and character kick in when your skills fail to help unlock your next opportunity.

You need career evangelists who can carry placards and preach you to the whole world and their inner circle when you need help. You need them to attest to your skills and preach you to others so you can do what you want.


Where Do I Start?

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” — Keith Ferrazzi

Career Evangelists are everywhere.

You wouldn’t need to go shopping for them. This group of professionals aren’t strangers but are more likely to be individuals within your personal and professional networks.

They are those that can back up your skills and let the world know how good you are, and help you stand out. They are those you develop relationships with over time.

It’s easier to develop and grow relationships with them than simply showing up and asking for help. It’s a lot easier when you have established some form of relationship, and it’s even better when they can attest to your skills through your working relationship or a challenge you helped them solve.

They need to know, trust and be able to attest to your skills.


Closing Thoughts

“The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.” — Bob Burg

Photo by Andrea Piacquadioon Unsplash


Career Evangelists are like angels.

They can take you from zero to hero. We all need them in our professional circle. The more career evangelists you have in your network, the easier it is for you to advance and grow your career.

These individuals will always attest to your skills and give you the extra leap to get ahead in your career when you need it the most.

Find your true evangelists.

Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week using Videoscribe.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The Tools I Use

Video Animation Software for my YouTube channel:

WordPress hosting to develop my website

Grammarly – To help me write better: