Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An open letter to college students ....Polish up.


A few weeks ago I ranted on twitter about how young Kenyans just out of college seeking jobs, or those still in college seeking internships have no clue how to relate professionally. Some responses were angry ones from possible campus students, or just people who have a strong opinion about everything, without critically looking at the issue at hand. (and they're many of these types on twitter)

Anyway, last week, I set up a meeting between a young person that's very close to my heart and a friend of mine who runs a top ICT company. It wasn't a job interview, but just a sit down chat so my young friend would get to know what happens in the business, as well as to network and hopefully make a good impression to a possible employer.

He had all his papers in order, and dressed well for the meeting, but against my advise, went along with a friend. (who proceeded to ask the secretary if they have openings in another department.)

After his meeting, I asked him to write a letter of gratitude to the MD: and this is what he wrote:

Subject: Appriciation
Hi,
I would like to thank you, for having a meeting with me.
Incase of any opening i could qualify for, i would appriciate if you kept me in mind.
Thanks.

He copied me in on the letter (please note; I have not altered anything). Take a look at the spelling mistakes and the careless casual attitude it carries.

He does not address the MD by name, and does not sign off with his.

In my opinion it was a hurriedly written letter by someone who's not really interested in a job.

When I rant, I mean well.

I hope that these young people can polish up their images.

I'm also ashamed of our institutions of higher learning, who are in charge of preparing these young people for the real world, and are currently doing NOTHING about it.

Countless times, I get emails from young people seeking internships and job opportunities, and they're very few that impress.

Several of them start with " Hi" some go the extra mile and say "Hey babes". ( listen, we're not friends just because we've tweeted each other. 'Sasa Mrembo" and "Cheers" is not how you ask for a job, I will never take you seriously, and most likely, no one else will.

So Dear young people, as I said on twitter last week, SMS speak is for your room-mate.

"w8 4 ur assist" will not earn you a place on my or anyone else's priority list.

English is the language spoken in the real world, and with that, polish up your presentation, you can never have a second chance at first impressions.

23 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for highlighting this issue, I have learnt alot. Our communication lessons must be applied fully and not just for exmamination purposes but for real life.

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  2. Like this correction.jesseesuge.

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  3. me i like ur blog ,only that u have forgotten something else ,he walks in your office with I.T papers ,the moment u tell him theres no opening in his field at that moment ,the next thing will be give me any other job that is available!!!!!! how now!! how now!!! young man

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  4. Spot on TerryAnne. Parents, tutors and the institutions themselves have failed and continue to fail these youngsters. They themselves also don't do themselves any favours with their casual approach to everything.
    On the other hand, as you did with your friend, more of us should adopt a few of these young ones and mentor them in order to better prepare them for the "real world" as you put it.

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  5. Fiti mresh,niaje iyo jobo sasa,,niwai email yako nikudunge Carriculam Vita yangu. Baadaye msupa. ;)

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  6. Terryanne,
    You are absolutely right. Actually, English/Kiswahili prose is endangered in Kenya. Somebody needs to do something.
    Have you realized our society doesn’t read for knowledge anymore? Yes, people are going to class but those are mainly the ones eyeing promotion at work. Or would they need the craved MBA?
    As a matter of fact, they stop reading upon graduation.
    Still, across all levels of academic life, there is more focus on passing than learning. As a result, students seek short-cuts; libraries are busy only during or near exam times. Then you must’ve seen the worship we give grade A for national Certificates. It’s always about the school that becomes number one.
    You see the students were told “all that matters in life is an A” – for God’s sake, why would a parent buy exam papers?
    Perhaps it’s time we retreated and asked: is all that education transforming our lives.
    If the answer is No, I suggest we change the subjects (matter) or the methods (manner).
    Wainaina
    tweet: @wainaina_john

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  7. True and straight to the point

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  8. we have gotten that one. Better advice the teachers who also teach such students that they should not tolerate any instances where students write them sheng instead of quality English as term papers.

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  9. I LIKE THIS: Perhaps it’s time we retreated and asked: is all that education transforming our lives.
    If the answer is No, I suggest we change the subjects (matter) or the methods (manner).
    Wainaina
    tweet: @wainaina_john

    Thanks

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  10. I thank you all so much for dropping by, and i hope that you can play some role ina young person's life, because these young people could be our children, our brothers and sisters, or a star in the making that just needs a bit of moulding.

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  11. I have to agree with you on this. My guess is that social media is greatly to blame. I am one of the aspiring business journalists out here who look up to you. Any advise, contacts and help whatsoever you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated. Regards. Irene Warui. Email: iwarui2001@gmail.com

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  12. This is a very commendable work. Furthermore a better reminder to every job seeker who have just left school. It is very wise to always have eyes on the respect and politiness required to address the seniors especially potential employers. The ultimate and best thing to do is to make it a habit to always be easy on how you relate with everybody and with this you will be in a position to address seniors with positive attitude, respect and politiness.

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  13. From the typos and grammatical errors in the responses, the problem afflicts more than college students.

    If this is a sample we could safely say the general populace needs to polish up

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  14. I do agree with you to a great length on the havoc that has befallen our communication ability,unfortunately it has everything to do with our institutions rather than the individuals.
    A while back a University student was a reference to an intellectual discussion, not any more, their language is pathetic right from the basics. Pay a visit to one of the Universities and you will realise attention is given to money than what was proverbially the fundamentals. Lecturers spend more time shuttling from Colleges than what they spend inside classes. some notes are presented on power-point without even change of the previous university's name.I remember the cliche that a teacher provides 20% and a student does the rest, what happened? Nowadays they provide almost nothing. Those who create a perception of communication deserve a prop because they go out of their way. In a society where Sheng is the in-thing what do you expect.

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  15. Dear Terry,

    I have learnt over time, short time it is though, that in the last fve years, you are lashed alot when you speak about morals and good standards. We've generally satrted the habit of accepting less than we deserve. Mediocrity is cripping into our economy, i have seen it at my place of work, the hospitality industry.

    Keep up andnever mind who says you are wrong when you've simpy told them this is the wrong way to do it.

    Kind regards,

    Anicoh Nathaniel

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  16. I hear all this. Thankyou for the observation Terry. I blame the young people because they ought to make an effort. I am a young person and I see the poor command of language in us, but we make no effort whatsoever, even when we are told.

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  17. Every bit of truth you have there Terryanne. Lots of mentoring is needed for us young professional. There is for us as early as possible to behave like people already where they want to be. Giving in to what our friends think is cool will alway be our undoing. Got a roommate who calls me 'dean of faculty' whenever i gloom well 4 class . I refuse to settle for his jeans n t-shirt. Unfortunately, his line is one i see fellows strangled by ties dawn to dusk. Its also a pity many of us dont know the formats 4 the most basic documents like C.Vs, application letters, proposals etc. http://www.manufacturingtrainee101.blogspot.com

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  18. I think the main problem can be traced to the colleges for not impacting the necessary communication skills to their students. Back in the day when i did my undergraduate studies, communication was a compulsory unit of study and not an elective as it is nowadays.

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  19. Could you please provide us with your email address.

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  20. is vip mresh teri..itakuaje ukinihothororia kanangoz kako nikuvutie waya vuti vuti ndio kaworks kakue order? Me ni msafara na najua masonko ka wewe mnaweza nidunga kajante hivi life isare kua ndialala na kunishikisha ukuta. Sa unasemaje mshiski nguyaz?

    Dearest,
    Jonte, msafara wa mungu

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  21. Interesting article... I wrote a (somewhat) similar article on my blog recently: http://kipsang.com/2014/05/05/looking-for-a-job/

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  22. Noted with thanks Terryanne. Thank you for sharing this.

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