I was privileged to be part of a webinar session recently that was organized by Google Digital Skills for Africa, part of the Grow with Google program. It was geared to offer insights to young people across Africa on the competencies necessary in identifying job opportunities in the digital era.
Some of the insights that were shared included an introduction to digital skills, a brief about industries that require digital skills, examples of digital careers, as well as the technical skills, experience, tools, and attitudes that are critical in the digital field.
It is worth noting that almost all industries require some aspect of digital skills. The moderator highlighted just a few of them, which include marketing, retail, education, finance, media, information technology, hospitality, and leisure as healthcare. It is important to note that while some of these industries need just some basic level of understanding of digital skills, others require extra competencies that may call for the acquisition of additional knowledge in a relevant area.
There were a number of different online tools, platforms, and methods that were highlighted, which young people can use to identify job opportunities online. They include using search engines such as Google and professional sites such as LinkedIn as well as job platforms (career sites) like Fuzu, Brighter Monday, and Career Point Kenya. While some of the platforms like Google and other search engines are easy to maneuver, others such as Fuzu and LinkedIn require a user to sign up for an account.
The benefits of looking for jobs through digital platforms is that besides allowing a user to customize them to suit their needs, they also offer the flexibility of making changes based on preferences as well as authenticating jobs that are listed so as not to fall prey to fraudsters. I once fell victim to such a scam and ended up parting with Sh1,000 to enable my would-be “interviewers” to verify my documents. It is critical to identify if a job listed is genuine by referring to the organization’s websites as well as asking people in your network if you have some doubts.
We also learnt some key lessons regarding our digital footprint. A few pertinent questions that were put across include; What comes up when you search for your name online? Do you have control over the information that is available online? We were reminded that employers usually search for information about prospective hires before formalizing employment contracts.
The moderator also delved deep to explain how a user can use the Google search engine and LinkedIn to look for jobs. All one has to do is search for “Jobs near me.” Google’s algorithm will scan data on the web and provide results based on your location. For instance, if you are in Nairobi and search for jobs near you, you will get results for job postings in Nairobi.
Lastly, we also learnt about the key role that professional sites like LinkedIn play in fostering connections with other workers as well as providing job opportunities that are relevant for an individual’s qualifications and competencies. LinkedIn allows for one to use various filters to identify the most relevant opportunities besides enabling a user to create unique job alerts in a particular field.