What do you think is the number one reason why many people are struggling to survive? Why is it that most people attain only 40% of their life potential given the opportunities present? The number one thing may not be something that you are thinking of.

I used to work for a big four audit firm, in the audit department, where I had been posted not by choice. Being a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – a great qualification with few holders at the time – I thought quite wrongly that I would make a great consultant. I was wrong.

Additionally, I was a Certified Chartered Accountants and a member of Association of Certified Chartered Accountant. In this era of automation, and hence increasing cyber security threats, and regional and global business, my qualifications were spot on. So I thought.

However, coming from a banking background, it was not easy to join a global audit firm. They needed folks who are not only good at execution, but business development, presentation skills and innovation. Most bankers are known as folks who follow the routine. With emphasis on compliance to rules and policies, they are ‘tuned’ to be risk averse and not out going and experimental, which is considered an antithesis innovation.

On this basis, my first application to the audit firm was rejected. But am called Bernabas Mustapha. I never give up. I went to the audit firm’s head office and inquired at the reception the partner in charge of recruitment. The lady receptionist was generous. She explained that the managing partner, an ardent Golfer, was key in any hire decision. However, the way the firm operated was such that it had partners responsible for their different business lines – external audit or assurance, Consulting HR, and Organizational Development (Training and restructuring), Consulting IT services, Consulting Corporate Recovery and Tax Advisory among others. Any of these partners or directors had a lot of influence, if not a final say in the recruitment of people working directly in their departments.

This was the best information for me. I went back to do my research. Who were these partners, what is their interest and what was the best way to know them? I started by visiting the firm’s website. I got to know the email, phone (office) and brief profiles of the partners. I liked consulting in ICT a lot. I spent a lot of effort to know more about the partner. I got to learn that the partner for ICT was a German based at the firm’s head office in Nairobi. I re-read his profile carefully, tried to anticipate possible challenges for a person in his position. I then re-wrote my CV specifically for the job I was applying for. I sent the CV and copied in the local managing partner.

Within a day, I received a response. The Nairobi partner said he would be travelling to Kampala and would not mind meeting me. That was fast! If you were with me in the internet café, you would have seen me smile at the screen as I read that email. I learnt a critical life lesson: Companies are always looking for great talent. All you have to do is ask. (“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. “Mathew 7:7.)

Unfortunately, most of you, wait for announcement for job vacancies, requests for bid documents, etc. which means your application gets lost in the sea of applicants.

To be continued.


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