• Makheni Zonneveld

#2 Future Readiness and Job hunting

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

This post is part of the free Future Readiness service. This is the 2nd in the 5-part series of answers to the first question. For the first one please click here. If you have not yet subscribed please click here or watch the 4-minute introductory video here. Don't miss out subscribe today!


“Dear Makheni

My aunt advised me to subscribe to your list and ask my future readiness questions. I am a 24-year job-seeker. I am an unemployed Business Management graduate from Springs near Johannesburg. In the past 18 months I have tried everything to find employment. How can future readiness help me in my search for employment? Any job will do”.

Linda (not her real name)


Dear Linda

I hope that last week’s elephant burger got you thinking. By the way someone asked me what an elephant burger is. I did not follow my own advice which is ‘Never assume!’ I assumed that everyone knows that you eat an elephant one elephant burger at a time. That is exactly what we are doing here – one mouthful at a time.

I promised you that in today’s burger I would expand on these questions that I asked you under ‘So what’? Of course what you will get out of this service is directly proportional to what you put in - zero input zero output – that is simply how life works. So if you let being busy get in the way and did not do your ‘homework’, it’s not too late – you can pause now and write down your answers before you proceed. Don’t you wish you had teachers and lecturers like that? LoL!

So what?

Please take pen and paper and answer the following:

Since the world is looking for solutions, what problem do I, Linda, solve?

What value would I add to anyone who invests in my skills?

What skills does the marketplace need?

What relevant skills do I already have?

What relevant skills do I still need to acquire?

Who could possibly invest in my skills? Do I have to sell my skills to an employer or are there other options?

Since the world is looking for solutions, what problem do I, Linda, solve?

You should aim to be a solution provider and not just a service provider, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. A solution provider does things differently from a service provider. That includes communicating. I had this conversation with one of my coaching clients. He is an IT service provider. He sends emails with content like “We use only proven white-hat SEO strategies to make your increase in traffic last”. I asked him to explain his service to me like I am a coach who would like to reach more clients. He speaks the way he has written this email – like a service provider.

He was surprised when I said to him that no one in the world needs SEO – Search engine Optimisation. He speaks what is called Geek speak and clients do not understand that foreign language. Clients are people and not machines so this is how we talk to them:

“You would like to get more clients (not traffic). This is how we help: When people search for a service in the Yellow pages they first see the services that start with A, so if your business name starts with T they are less likely to see it. That is because the Yellow pages is in alphabetical order so it is super smart to call your business AAA plumbers. That works for the Yellow Pages but because websites are not listed in alphabetical order in the digital Yellow pages called Google, we use other strategies to get you to the AAA equivalent”.

Linda, which do you understand better the Geek speak or the simple explanation? That is one of the differences between the service provider mind-set and the solution provider mind-set. A service provider thinks in terms of his service but a solution thinks in terms of real solutions for real problems of real people. Hence, an IT solution provider uses people speak because solutions are never in Geek speak.

What value would I add to anyone who invests in my skills?

When you sell your skills in the job market please keep this in mind – the purpose of a job is not to give you an opportunity to be employed and earn a salary. The job exists because someone has to fulfil a function. This is how one of my clients used to present herself at interviews – she painted the gloomy picture of her situation – orphaned, could not complete her studies because of lack of resources and had younger siblings to feed and educate. She was surprised that no one gave such a deserving candidate a chance.

A deserving candidate packages herself differently on her cv. “Although I did not complete my studies because of my financial situation, I have learnt xyz skills through reading and through volunteering. I am willing to learn and grow. Because of my situation, being a parent to my younger siblings, I take every opportunity seriously.” Would you employ the one who has no resources or the resourceful one?

What skills does the marketplace need?

Look at your skill set in the light of what is needed today and what will be needed in future. Many of the skills we learn in formal education were relevant when the first brick of the institution was laid. Yes, formal education is important – yes, I would not be here without my university education but if I had not reskilled myself along the way I would be in a museum.

Study job postings with this objective in mind – to see which skills are needed. The good news is that most of the skills that are needed in the workplace of the future can be learnt online for free. I learnt most of the skills that I use everyday free of charge online. If you need someone to create a website, or create a YouTube channel, or create and edit videos and screencasts or embed a video on a website or landing page you will not ask for that person’s qualifications. I can do all that and much more and I learnt that free of charge online. All these have to do with digital skills but you can learn all sorts of skills for free online like assertive communication etc. Organisations of the future will pay people for what they can do at the time and not for what they passed in an exam in the past

What relevant skills do I already have?

There are skills that will always be relevant. I said last week that the most important skills will always be thinking skills and people skills. Over and above that you need some current hard skills. Make a list of all the skills that you have acquired thus far whether you acquired them formally or informally and find a way of packaging them in a way that you can sell them to employers or end users.

What relevant skills do I still need to acquire?

I am not talking about what additional degree or diploma or certificate you need but about skills you can learn informally. What is more important is being able to demonstrate that you do have the skill.

No one is going to survive the new economy without ongoing learning. I have a simple answer for those who ask how I lasted for two decades in such a competitive market “Knowing that you are only as good as your last gig.”

Who could possibly invest in my skills? Do I have to sell my skills to an employer or are there other options?

This is the next elephant burger.

What next?

1. Go through your original answers to the questions above and then answer them again in the light of today’s input.

2. Check out job postings to find out what potential buyers of skills need. Employers are simply customers for the skills you are selling.

Till next week.

Makheni your Future Readiness Coach

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Makheni Zonneveld has extensive experience in helping organisations, teams, individuals and entrepreneurs with real transformation. She employs these communications tools: Online and face2face coaching, speaking, training, storytelling and writing.

To enquire on her services or to subscribe to this free service simply click here: http://www.makheni.com/contact

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