How to make up for a mistake at work?

No matter how qualified you are, it is not impossible for you to make a mistake at work. This could turn into a nightmare if not handled properly. You can for example mix up the address of an order, or the recipient of a confidential mail, in brief,  you just didn’t do what you were asked to… When everybody makes mistakes at work, the ways however to handle them or to make up for them can be different. Here are some tips to save faces.

Keep your cool…

When you happen to make a mistake at your workplace, there is no need for you to panic because no matter what the consequences of that mistake could be, going into panic mode will not solve the issue. Tell yourself that everybody makes mistakes and panicking would only make things worse. It is obviously naural to feel embarrassed and stressed out about admitting that you made a mistake. But the faster you act on it, the better it will go. It is useless to just bury your head in the sand. If  you manager was informed about the situation quickly enough, there would be more time for him to get involved and minimize the damages. If your mistake can have repercussions then confess immediately. It will stop it from getting any bigger and leading to serious consequences. However if it’s a little mistake you can handle it yourself, no need to bring it up.

Don’t point fingers at anyone…

There is nothing that upsets a boss more than an employee who doesn’t own up to his responsibility. That is the reason why, the moment you realize you have made a mistake, take full responsibility and confess your wrongs. Show your manager that you are aware of your mistake and that you have learned from your lesson. Do not point fingers at anyone by any means. If, for example, you didn’t quite understand the instructions, admit it. Owning to your mistakes is proof of maturity.

Present solutions to correct your errors 

It is not just about admitting your wrongs. You must also commit to finding solutions to the problems that you have created. Presenting solutions to correct the errors will show your manager that you are really genuinely sorry. Do not hesitate to ask your colleagues for some help. It will prove that you really want to fix the problem. You must then learn from your mistakes. Take the time to explain what have happened, what you have learned from it and how you will use it to do better in the future. In short, communicate. That could work on your favor.

Don’t beat yourself over it 

If you continue feeling guilty about it, it could hurt your self-esteem and make you question yourself. Know that most of the time, talented workers make mistakes and that doesn’t take away their skills. Moreover, you must know that in many situations, you are a link in a series of events. “A mistake is never solely the fault of the person who did it, the organization and the procedure that had been put in place are also to blame. Reason why it is important for managers to get with the person who made the mistake and go through the series of events that led to the error” argues specialist Jean-François Thiriet. So basically, stop beating yourself over it and move on peacefully.


Africa: when the blue economy generates jobs

Contrary to what stereotypes and misperceptions “Afro-pessimistic” have here and there, Africa is full of potential. Actually, it is not a coincidence that more and more investors have set their eyes on the black continent to do business. Talking about great potential, the blue economy have plenty of it in terms of investment so jobs. Therefore the blue economy generates jobs in Africa and is dedicated to reducing the unemployment rate in the black continent.  According to experts, approximately 23 million of people work in the fishing sector. It ensures food safety for more than 200 million of people and generates an added value of 24 billion dollars so a 1.26 GDP of all the African countries. Experts believe that the blue economy in Africa plays an important part in promoting a substainable economic growth with ressources coming from the ocean, waterways, lakes and other water related ressources. It makes more sense knowing that 38 of the 54 countries in Africa, are coastal countries and 90% of exports and imports go by sea. Because of this, some observers considers the blue economy as “ the new line of development in Africa”.

Millions of direct jobs


The fishing sectors generates millions of direct jobs and induced employment. This goes from processing to packaging, fish nets and engines making, ice supplying, the building and maintenance of ships. Actually, the economic role of that sector has been confirmed by WorldFish center research institute based in Malaysia that tells us that in Uganda for example, fishing in lakes brings more than 200 million of dollars every year which represents 2.2 of the GDP of the country. That sector of activity has 135 000 fishermen working and 700 000 people working in the processing and fish trading and making 87.5 million of dollars exports revenues.


A sector that is mainly controlled by foreign companies 


If there is something that observers have all noticed is the fact that the blue economy in Africa is mainly controlled by foreign companies. Statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirm that statement by showing that even though the potential is obvious in Africa, it is however a rather low fish producer and is only ranked 4 on the worldwide scale with 4 500 00 tons. Continental fish is mainly done in Africa especially in Africa’s big lakes regions (Uganda and Tanzania) and Nigeria for river fishing. This sector would benefit more from opening up to local fishermen so the blue economy can even more contribute in reducing poverty in Africa. It is therefore necessary to have a better participation of locals in the sector.


Africa: more than 3 million jobs expected by 2025 thanks to e-business

In a world where economy is now highly digitalized, e-business have generated 1.462 billion of euros in 2014 with China and the USA on top. Africa is also part of the movement. Therefore, in the black continent, e-business have reached more than 50 billion in 2018. Despise the digital divide that defines the continent, this business that consist in buying and selling goods and services on the internet is booming in Africa. Indeed, only 26% of the population in Africa has access to internet. Moreover, e-business looks into being a real tool in reducing the unemployment rate. That is at least what a new study from Boston Consulting group revealed. According to them, a collaboration between the private and public sector in Africa could unlock the potential of e-business and boost up the economy of the African continent and create up to 3 million jobs by 2025.

From the conclusion of that report called « how can digital marketplaces propel jobs in Africa » and published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), digital marketplaces like Jumia Souq, Thundafund and Travelstart could create 3 million new jobs by 2025 in Africa. « Those ‘e-business’ websites that connect buyers and suppliers of goods and services, could also increase the revenues and facilitate the international economic growth all without disturbing the activity of the existing companies », the report added.

Africa is lucky enough to have a very young population and an emerging middle class which represents the perfect environment for e-business . However there are lots to do in order to give a real boost to e-business. The study of the e-business ecosystem in Africa helps us realise that this sector has a long way to go in the black continent. For example, in the report, for the digital marketplaces to really reach their full potential in Africa, public and private sectors must first work together to create a suitable digital environment. It also lets us know that in Africa approximately 58% of new jobs will be in the consumer goods sector, 18% in mobility services and 9 % in travelling and hospitality.

The obstacles that the expansion of e-business in Africa could be facing are, according to the report, the lack of infrastructures, of regulatory clarity and a limited access to certain markets. Policy makers, on the other hand, are concerned about issues related to securing citizens personal data and the possible risk of disturbance in the sectors of activity.

Nonetheless, despite the obstacles, we can hope for an evolution of e-business in Africa and in turn, the creation of new jobs in this continent that has become the main destination of investors. The Young Africans should therefore seize this good opportunity that e-business is offering to boost their chances of having a job. In order to do that, it is necessary to get a training in ICT.


How to make your LinkedIn more attractive?

Everybody agrees on the fact that social networks are important for people who are looking for a job. They allow you to be visible, to let yourself be seen and to show out your personal and professional skills in order to attract recruiters. However, in order to get the best out of those tools, you must know how to get the maximum of potential out of them. We will explore different ways of making your LinkedIn more attractive.


What do job seekers need LinkedIn for?


If there is any social network that job seekers visit the most, it is definitely LinkedIn. This network is a “professional” social network that is very useful in job seeking. It allows job seekers to lay out in plain view their career path, or their training and activities. LinkedIn is perfect for getting more information about the people you will be talking to and display your own skills. It helps to efficiently reach out to future contacts for job seeking purposes or markets. A lot of job seekers manage to create a real universe online capable of putting their profiles on top of researches on google in fields where they major. Thanks to that network job seekers can also download their own C.V next to their profiles. It is therefore, possible to really give a lot of information to the recruiter who, on the other hand would feel suspicious to see a page with little information, myCVfactory creator Pauline Lahary tells us.


How to maximize your profile?


In order to fully take advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer, it is crucial to first of all, work on the header of your profile. First, it is mandatory to put a picture, second, it has to be a professional one. LinkedIn is a digital webpage where everybody expect to see some media. Then, your page needs to come with the perfect title. To do that, you must either display your current job or choose a sentence that will perfectly summarize your skills. 

It is also recommended to put key words that are the most looked for on google.  According to Pauline Lahary creator of myCVfactory, it is a very lucrative technique. Last, From her opinion, it is helpful to pay attention to the summary of our professional path, to highlight our skills, our expertises and to give an insight of what we would like to do in life. It is about giving a real “pitch” that would make managers and recruiters want to contact you, she explains.


LinkedIn pulse: an efficient solution 


According to Pauline Lahary, creator of myCVfactory, it is recommended to put as much pictures and videos as possible, not to forget presentations and other links. LinkedIn gives the possibly to share some multimedia content in order to show your experiences off. On LinkedIn, we can also have access to a service named « LinkedIn Pulse ». It aims at allowing internet users to post articles about their area of expertise. Basically, it is therefore possible to join a community of experts or create a group or display our knowledge and our abilities. You must be a real « influencer »in you area of expertise. It is also a good way to make yourself seen. In short, it is all about how you present yourself on social media to maximize your chances of getting hired.


How to handle tricky questions during job interviews?

We are often confronted with tricky questions during job interviews and answering them is not an easy task. Are we allowed to lie in that specific situation? For example can we say that we left our former employee on good terms when it is actually the opposite? However it is, no answer that could possibly mess up your chances of getting the job should be given. But how do we handle it? Find our tips in the following paragraphs.

Can we lie to avoid a tricky question during the job interview?

First and foremost, we should keep in mind that no matter how difficult the question is, liying is not wanted nor recommended during the interview. The only lie that recruiters can tolerate at the most is lying through omission. And that is understandable since an interview is after all a sale. In that sense we have the right and the obligation to display a product at its best. It is therefore useless and stupid to talk about all our imperfections,  to reveal our professional plans when it doesn’t benefit the company. This is at least according to expert Patrice Ras, author of « Grand livre de l’entretien d’embauche» published by Studyrama.

How to talk about our former job when it didn’t end well?

The rule is to absolutely avoid saying bad things about our ex boss. Keep in mind to never bash your former enployer, says Patrice Ras. Adding also that « if however, the recruiter wants to know the exact reason why the candidate left, he can talk about it without getting into the details and without whining: throwing too much shade on your ex employer can often look bad on your side ». You must nevertheless remember that employer are not gullible , they are very much aware of the realities of the working world and especially about the behavior of some managers who tend to be nasty, too demanding, unfair and harassing. So you can talk about a professional relationship that didn’t end up well with tact and grace because the recruiter feeling any sense of hate in your speech could make you look bad.

How to explain a long period of unemployment to the recruiter?

This question also is delicate, in a sense. Some people go as far as changing the dates in their C.V to hide it out and avoid the question. This option is not recommended because there is a high risk for the company to find it out and see you as someone being fraudulent. When confronted to that situation, it is better if you clearly explain why you were not selected during previous job interviews. Point out all the different procedures you have been through and how motivated you are. That would make the person you will be talking to have a good feeling about you. So according to Patrice Ras HR expert, the job interview is actually the best moment to bring light to those periods of inactivity and turn the question to you advantage by showing that you are still active and positive despite the setbacks. Human qualities that recruiters appreciate.

Avoid definite and closed answers…

When asked to know about their career plan, many candidates get it all wrong because they think that we expect from them to give a closed and definite answer like «  I will become a C.E.O ». Quite to the contrary, what matters for the recruiter is to know about your plans in terms of your career. Therefore, you must be able to present your arguments by stating every major facts and trying to put a date limit for every goal. The candidate must be able to give an account of every major step of his career. The answer should come out naturally. Therefore, try to show how, where, what and when you plan on reaching your career goals. You must justify them by all means because they don’t expect you to just give empty promises. 

Be consistent…

When you are presenting your career plan to the recruiter, it is important to always be consistent and realistic. The answer that you give should be the result of a medium term well detailed career plan. It should be something that has been thought through. For that reason, it is recommended not to say things like «  it is hard for me to plan for the future, it is so uncertain that I might give you a wrong answer ». That answer that you probably find extremely wise is actually seen as a headlong rush for the recruiter who will definitely not appreciate it.

Do not confuse ambitious and pretentious…

It is clear that a recruiter will always appreciate having an ambitious candidate, but be careful not to do too much and have him confuse ambitious with pretentious. The ambition needs to be realistic. You must keep your feet on the ground to show to the recruiter that you are capable of taking yourself to other lands. In other words, he will appreciate for you to have your wishes and your passion but also take in consideration the situation of the professional market  when you present your career plan. Either way, you should keep in mind that the question about your career plan is the perfect opportunity for your recruiter to test you in terms of planing ahead of time. Avoid going overboard and having over the top goals. In brief, you need to be ambitious but without doing too much. Once again be realistic because it is the perfect opportunity for you to be so.


how to answer the salary expectation question?

Most of the time the salary expectation question can seem awkward during the job interview. A salary expectation represents what a candidate expects to be paid for a job and is a question  that recruiters ask for majority of the time during the process of a job interview. It is, therefore, important for the candidate to be ready for that question so he is not taken by surprise. But how do we really answer the salary expectation question? Find in this article the best answers to that question.

Offer a number and put a question right after it so you don’t give a closed-ended answer

There are many answers that could be said to answer the question about the salary expectation. However recruiters do expect to hear about a yearly based net salary. That shouldn’t be a reason for you to give a fixed salary because after all the goal of a salary negotiation is to have the maximum the employer could offer you, thinks HR specialist Thierry Krief. He adds «  if you give a non negotiable number then naturally it is not opened for negotiation ». In an effort to not breach the conversation which is detrimental to the negotiation, we suggest you don’t answer with standard questions like «  I need » or « I want ». Answer with something more like: 45 000 euros a year salary sounds fair, what do you think? » Answering with another question opens the conversation.

The bold move : “ the higher the better”

You could also respond to the recruiter’s question about the salary expectation by saying the very bold words “ the higher the better”.  Be careful though because if it is not done in a very humorous way it could be misinterpreted. Basically, if you do not have a good sense of humour do not say it.

The flexible response  : Provide a salary range

When they ask you a question about salary, it happens sometimes that you provide a salary range rather than a fixed amount. It is a good answer but make sure to do it the right way. When you provide a salary range your desired salary should be the lowest one and you should be able to explain why you want more or else you could lose your credibility. That is at least according to the HR specialist Thierry Krief. From his opinion it is strongly advised to not under evaluate your salary range because it could make you lose the position. “You don’t make yourself more marketable by lowering your value,” he added.

What not to say at any mean: “How much can you offer?”

It there is one thing that you should never say to the recruiter it is “ how much can you offer me? This answer is counterproductive in the sense that the recruiters want to have candidates who know their worth. You could happen to not know the salary for that specific job. In that case you should look at studies about salary ranges available online. Anyway, be ready to provide some proofs to justify your salary expectation, for example you can show them you pay slip. Highly demanded profiles can ask for more based on their accomplishments.


Ways to successfully and truthfully explain gaps in your CV during an interview ?

It is common for a professional to notice in the CV of the candidate, what we usually call a « gap » in the career path of the latter,  during the process of a job interview. Beyond a pure conjecture this embarrassing situation that appear as inconsistency in the career, whether it is true or not, is actually quite common. It does ring a bell especially knowing that majority of people have had that happened at least once in their lives. A gap in employment can be due to many factors. It could be due to a maternity leave. Or again to a personal project like trying to start a business for example. Finally, it could be the result of a contract breach that both parties agreed on and that led to a year leave. Either way, whatever the nature is, a gap in employment is always something that requires some logical explanation unless you want to fail the interview. But how exactly do you go around it without making a mistake? We will try to give an answer to that question in the following paragraphs.

Justifying a gap in your CV by making a coherent plan ?

First thing first, one of the smartest techniques used to explain a gap in your CV is by setting up a coherent plan that would fit with you career path or working experiences. It is crucial because you can be sure that the recruiter will not take lightly the words you choose to justify the gap in your CV. It is obviously a determining factor in the profile of the future employee.

Avoid lying to explain a gap in your CV by all means.

Because they want their interview to be successful some people are tempted to systematically lie to justify an existing gap in their CV. That type of behavior that consists of lying to justify in bad faith those times of inactivities or to change the dates of employments can end up having the opposite effect because if they find out about it, the candidate will lose any chance of having a successful interview. This is why it is very important to be honest when you are trying to explain a gap in the CV. Also, whatever the reason why your career was interrupted at some point of your life, be brief about your personal life. It really is the number one rule.

Use your cover letter to be ahead on the justifications

Contrary to popular misconceptions, a gap in the CV does not mean that you will not have a successful interview. Your cover letter can come handy when trying to anticipate on the questions you will probably get at the interview. It can help overcoming any concern the employer might have. Be honest no matter what and have a persuasive presentation. Make the person you’re speaking to know that what you were doing during your time of inactivity is not the proof of an incoherent behavior but rather the proof of an existing sense of initiative and determination. Taking this type of approach will help you gain some points and convince the employer that you are the best candidate for that position…Making an obstacle turn into an advantage will therefore show how good of a master mind you are.

You can also read Occupational burnout, an unknown disorder in Africa


Well-being in the workplace: Where do we stand in Africa?

Following the succession of suicides of some workers that shook France in 2007, the topic regarding quality of life in the workplace is not something that Management takes lightly anymore. People merely talked about it before but these dramatic event that occured, make them realise how well-being in the workplace plays a key role in motivating the worker. It is not a secret anymore that nothing great can happen if the worker is in a working environment where he is feeling down and is stressed out constantly. Actually, some companies have understood it very well. That is the reason why they put in place some mechanisms to encourage the well-being of their employees. The same is true for African companies. However it is sad to see that it underlines a deeper issue that doesn’t seem important. Many African companies have yet to find a way to deal with the matter effectively.

A wake of interest from the World Health Organization about the concept of well-being at the workplace.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is very much concerned with the issue of well-being at the workplace and gave an official definition to describe it. It is defined as “ A state of mind where there is a quite good balance between the skills, needs and aspirations of the worker and the pressure and opportunities at the workplace. Basically “well-being at the workplace”refers to all elements that could potentially have an impact on the working conditions of the employees. It includes security, hygiene of the premises, health protection of workers, the physical and mental effects of the tasks carried out, workplace ergonomics etc. According to the Administrator of Syntec and president of the consulting firm Stimulus, David Mahé who published a look out about stress at the workplace “there is 2 types of stimulation, one that gives meaning to what we do and another that is about duty. Being committed is about the meaning and the enjoyment.”Despise all that, in Africa, many companies struggle to adapt to that reality.

 A theoretical approach of the issue of well-being at the workplace for many African companies

Officially in Africa, many companies talk about the interest they have on the well-being of their employees. However, if we pay more attention to it, we notice that there is a gap between the declarations of interest and the reality. Progress is not for pretend anymore. African companies really need to commit themselves to finding ways to improve the working conditions. It is about, putting the human being in the center of the values of the company for its own sake and for the sake of the co-workers.

You can also read Professional retraining in Africa


These skills that will make you indispensable in any African business

The African business world is made of several personalities, visions of things and attitudes. It is also a space of socialization which aims to develop the aptitudes of its members and the potentialities of the company. As an individuality in a group, your role is to act to make the working environment and interpersonal exchanges as fluid as possible.