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Friday, 27 February 2015

Grabbing the Right Int'l Opportunity: 4 Things to Note!

Have you ever watched many of the young people around you travel from one country to another, attending several international programs (training programs, conferences, forums…), establishing strong bonds with persons from the four corners of the planet ; and wondered how they made it?

Well, in this article, I will share with you the highlights of what I learnt during the past ten years; since I have been blessed to be part of miscellaneous international programs.

1. You have to start with joining an international Network.

Trust me, it is hard to do it by yourself: if you are reading my article then you are in the right place. You are so lucky to be part of the Opportunity Desk‘s FAMILY. You can find the high spots here but still do not be lazy and search for more; you can contribute on enriching the content of this blog.  Sharing is a key, start doing it and you will be impressed by the others’ responses.

2. The second main point is to be honest with yourself.

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses other than your budget. You have to admit the fact that some of the opportunities out there are beyond your potential ‘for now’ or not within your field of speciality. In other words, you will neither bring too much to the people you will meet nor learn from them in a productive way. In such circumstances, you have to step away, and it is fine. There will be something else.

3. Once you find the opportunity that perfectly fits you, by deeply reading the application requirements and obviously its main topic, take the time to fill the application: NEVER EVER RUSH.

Ask your closest friends about their opinions; make research even if you think you have enough information about the topic, after all, enough is never enough.

4. Do not forget that it is a competition and thousands may apply. So, you have to BE OUTSTANDING.

Never underestimate yourself, do your best and never give up even if you might be rejected many times. Keep trying, you have no idea how much you will learn during the whole process.


Best of Luck!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Sabrine HAMDI

Sabrine Hamdi is a Tunisian dentist. She followed her studies in the Faculty of Dentistry in Monastir. For over ten years, she took part of several international programs whether with UNAOC, Peace Child International or the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Parliament among others. She is an alumna of both the UNESCO Chair and the MEPI program. Besides, she committed herself to various social service activities at the national and international levels. Find here on Facebook.
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Ignite your Reading Habit with Okadabooks

Have you been looking for ways to spark up your reading habit? Well, you don't have to worry anymore. While searching the PlayStore android application on my mobile phone today for something new and interesting, I found Okadabooks - a fast, simple and fun way to read books without ever blinking leaving your couch! It’s book reading, reinvented.

We found some of our favourite books including;

  1. Preserve My Saltiness by Jennifer Ehidiamen
  2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  3. Best Friends Forever by Myne Whitman
  4. How Laziness Saved My Life and How Stupidity Saved My Life by Okechukwu Ofili
  5. Diary of a Desperate Naija Woman by Bola Essien-Nelson
  6. And lots more

To start, download and install Okadabooks in your Android device >>> send a text , choose a book, then download and start reading – it’s as easy as riding an okada. It’s even cheaper than riding an Okada! Books cost from as low as N20 to as much as N175. There are also free books.

If you are an author looking for the best way to publish your work, consider publishing with Okadabooks. Authors make about 20% on each sale.

Here is the Idea - Mobile devices have been blamed for the poor reading culture in Nigeria. But rather than criticizing mobile devices and accepting the notion that Nigerians don’t read…okadabooks seeks to harness the power of the mobile phone to make it easier and cheaper for Nigerians to read. At the end of the day they are powered by the belief that Nigerians do indeed read, if given the chance.

I know you are getting excited already and you may want to find out more. Simply go to www.okadabooks.com/faq.

Okadabooks will ignite your reading habit and get your book published if you are really talented!
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How to Fundraise for your Project or Initiative on StartSomeGood

Fundraising! 
The scariest word to some and the most exciting venture to others. While fundraising can be a daunting process for especially beginners and start up organisations, it can also be a worthwhile and exciting venture.
Well, we found a great funding platform – StartSomeGood

StartSomeGood is a peer-funding platform for broadly-progressive social impact projects and organizations. While their focus is on social entrepreneurship as a vehicle for creating change they support all forms of changemaking: entrepreneurial, advocacy and activism, community organizing, research and information provision and inspiration.

They envision a world where everyone can be a changemaker, where communities can create the future they want and governance is citizen-focused and responsive. Their goal is to build the world’s best mobilizing platform for changemakers, allowing them to raise the funds, grow the community and gain the skills and contacts they need to make a difference.
StartSomeGood.com may just be the perfect platform to raise funds for your project.
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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

25 Marketing Strategies for your Youth Projects and Venture

Many of you have project ideas you want to kick off the ground. Some of you have already launched some ideas. The need to market your project, venture or organization is something that cannot be ruled out as it is necessary to promote what you do and get support. We believe that as you seek for opportunities across the globe to enhance your skills, further your work or gain relevance, some marketing strategies will be a good help for your projects or ventures.



Marketing Strategies

The following is a list of twenty five ways to market your Project - as identified by Ashoka's Youth Venture. Some of these options may be more relevant to your Venture than others. This isn’t an exhaustive list; be creative and keep developing new ways to let people know about your Venture!


  1. Create a website for your project. This can be done free through Wordpress or Blogger.
  2. Write a newsletter that you send out periodically—by email or regular mail—to update people on your Project’s activities.
  3. Keep a blog about your project. Write frequently - once or twice a week - on any activities around your venture.
  4. Keep a bulletin board with up-to-date information about your project.
  5. Develop a logo that people will recognize and associate with your project.
  6. Create T-shirts, pens, and other merchandise with your name and logo.
  7. Create posters and ask permission to hang them in your school, at local businesses, and around town.
  8. Set up informational tables during school lunches, in student unions, or at community events. Create a large sign with your logo for your table.
  9. Distribute your business cards whenever you can.
  10. Learn how to talk about your project—then tell everyone about it!
  11. Use testimonials. Ask someone supportive for a quote about your Venture and then include that quote in flers, newsletters, and other promotional materials.
  12. Create a video that highlights your Venture’s activities. You can post this video on your website, show it at events, and distribute it to supporters and potential supporters of your Venture.
  13. Hold events that appeal to many types of people.
  14. Write a press release whenever big events or activities occur and send it to local newspapers, TV stations, and other types of media.
  15. Invite local newspapers to your events.
  16. Advertise upcoming events on the local radio or in local newspapers.
  17. Publicize events and meetings on your school’s morning announcements or in your school’s newspaper.
  18. Call people directly on the phone to tell them about upcoming events.
  19. Use free classified ads on the Internet or in local newspapers.
  20. Take pictures at all of your events. These pictures may come in handy later when you’re creating fl yers and brochures.
  21. Connect with already-established organizations that would be willing to talk about or support your project.
  22. Send flyers and brochures through email or regular mail to as many people as possible.
  23. Barter your service/product for other services/products that your project needs.
  24. Mail postcards to community members to advertise your Venture and request donations.
  25. Offer gift certificates or coupons for free or reduced-cost products and services.

Culled from Ashoka's Youth Venture "Dream It. Do It." Action Kit.
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Winning a Job Interview: 10 things You Must Know

Many job seekers fail to secure jobs due to high competition or lack of adequate skill which the employers are looking for. In this article, I will share tips on how you can position yourself above other candidates during job interview. The list is endless but these few are some of the ones I have observed overtime.

1. Arrive the venue early

There are many reasons why you need to get to the venue early. Aside the fact that there may be delay on your way due to traffic, arriving early helps you to relax your mind before the commencement of the interview. It also helps you to familiarize yourself with the office environment and probably ask any necessary questions ahead of the interview. Most recruitment firm also considers arriving early to the interview as a sign of seriousness on the part of the job seeker.

2. Good dress sense

It is not enough to wear good dress; you need to wear it appropriately. Dressing well is not all about wearing expensive wears; it needs to fit the occasion. For example, wearing patterned tie on pattern shirt looks odd. Also, wearing patterned shirt on patterned trouser is inappropriate. No matter how expensive the dress is, if it is not worn appropriately, it can put off your interviewer. 

For ladies, excessive makeup should be avoided. Interviewers most times decide whether to give you attention based on your outlook. No matter how intelligent you may be, when you dress inappropriately, your interviewers may lose interest in what you have to say. Here is my recommendation; you can wear a dark coloured suit or any cool coloured shirt on dark trouser or skirt as the case maybe. Being formal most times is preferable. You can however, visit the organization prior to your interview date to see how their employees dress during working hours.

3. Don't memorize your answers

Most times, people buy books on job interviews. The next thing they start memorizing answers to the most common interview questions. This is not only wrong; it can also affect your performance. The essence of those books is to give you an idea on how to answer question not for memorization. You are not to quote the answer word for word. Always put your answer in your own words. As much as possible, relate your answer to the position applied for and avoid telling long stories as these may bore your interviewer.

4. Research the company

Most times when I place a job advert, people send CVs without even finding out what the company does. Having good knowledge of the company is very vital. It is like making a proposal. Prior knowledge about the company will enhance your performance during the job interview. Since most companies have websites, Google.com is a ready and free tool you can use to look up the website of the company. Find out about their vision, mission, core values, product/services, their competitors, track record and other necessary details.

5. Learn to define yourself appropriately

The most difficult question to most people during job interview is “Can you tell us about yourself?”. The question may look simple but most people answer it wrongly. In fact  how you answer the question can determine whether you will be hired or not. In your response, avoid unnecessary details such as the number of villages in your hometown, the numbers of your sibblings and their position in the family, the favorite movie you watch on television or names of your best friend. 

What the interviewer wants to hear is who you are (brief account such name, institution attended, course of study), what you can do (your skills) and what you have done(relevant experience) that relates to the position applied for. For example, if you are applying for a post of Marketer, and you were asked “tell us about yourself”. You can say something like “ My name is Wale Olajumoke. A graduate of Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun state. I have great passion for marketing, as a result, I have worked as Sales representative for Finem Ventures. I was able to increase sales by 80% within few weeks. (Please don’t memorize this response, remember Rule 3)

6. Be confident

Many people fail exam not because they are not brilliant, but because they are afraid. The same thing happens during job interview. Employers are interested in employing someone who is confident. You can show confidence by maintaining eye contact, firm handshake, and good dress sense. Avoid sitting sluggishly or resting your back on the chair like a pregnant woman. Looking at the floor or panting while answering questions is a sign of lack of confidence. You need to know that confidence is attained overtime. Looking at your friends eyeball to eyeball, appreciating yourself while facing the mirror at home, listening to your favourite music when going for interview, volunteering in your community, knowledge of your field and praying are practical ways to build confidence.

7. Make eye contact

As much as possible, make eye contact with your interviewer. You need to have it at the back of your mind that your interviewers are human like you. They are only opportune and privilege to interview you. This consciousness can help to build confidence. Even if you are scared of their face, you can look above their head. Most interviews are done by one to five persons as the case maybe. Look at the face of the particular person interviewing you. Be audible and don’t rush your words as you try to respond to questions.

8. Don’t lie, you may be caught

People lie about their age in their CV, forge certificate, overshoot their years of experience and many other things. I believe sincerity is the best policy. If you don’t have particular qualities, it is better to let the employer know how you can compensate for them. You can share similar skill you have or your ability to learn fast on the job and so on. Also, I recommend proper preparation for interview as this will give you enough time to plan.

9. Smile! Smile! Smile!

A good smile appeals to people irrespective of race or background. Smiling brings out your beauty and communicates positively to your interviewer. Especially when it is genuine. Learn to smile always. Focusing on positive things and maintaining good attitude about life can help to strengthen your spirit which will indirectly reflect on your countenance. A smile can win you a job provided you have other skills and experiences required.

10. Remember rule 1 to 9

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it. Join us on Facebook, Let's interact via Twitter and Subscribe via Email if you don't want to miss any updates.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOUR

Wale Olajumoke is the CEO of Concise Value, a career management company, in Lagos, Nigeria. He is passionate about youth empowerment and Nation building. He has facilitated training on personal development, business, career, and leadership at various Corporate Organizations. He loves engaging youths positively on social media during his leisure.
www.facebook.com/waleolajumoke2
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Friday, 13 February 2015

How to Dress for Excellence: Get Ready to Get Hired!

As we seek opportunities from this Desk, sooner or later we may be unable to escape a hand-to-hand combat with prospective hirers (I mean a face-to-face job interview) and as such it is important that we make a good first impression.

The first impression you make often depends on what you are wearing. Many times, you have hear the statements “Dress the way you want to be addressed” or 
dress like the interviewers

Although that is good, I rather recommend that job hunters ‘Dress for Excellence”.

Here are few tips I gathered from professional recruiters and hirers:
  1. Dress in the Best Clothes you have, no exceptions.
  2. Guys, there are only two colors when it comes to suits: navy blue and charcoal gray. Brown suits could make you look ferocious as a bear, and black suits is for ushers.
  3. Black shoes with matching black socks fit best. Please do not wear white socks with black shoes. I guess you can imagine you will look like a 5th grader.
  4. Tattoos should be covered if you do have them at all.
  5. Ladies, modest business attire buttoned appropriately will be just perfect. Exposing certain body parts could send a wrong message to a male hirer and a wrong impression to a female hirer.
  6. Finally, it’s great to wear perfumes and jewelry but these should be kept to a minimum. Only a pair of earrings should be worn and perfumes should be mild so as to avoid transforming the beautiful interview session to an intensive choking competition.

These few tips could fetch you that dream job! Get ready to get HIRED!!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juliet is a young and emerging Marketer and Changemaker who seeks to empower young people with employability skills. She is the founder of IYDEA, a project aimed at enhancing the quality of life of youths with disabilities. She is a State Department International Exchange Alumni and Ashoka's Youth Venturer. Contact her julietufot@gmail.com.
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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Onyinye Nwaoma joins 10 UK Volunteers in Calabar

We are always delighted to learn from our fans and readers about how Opportunity Desk has helped them take up an opportunity. Well, this week, its from Onyinye Nwaoma. Just like Jacqui's Story, Onyinye has sent us a message that only leaves smiles on our faces.

Read it below and be inspired to stay in touch with as well as tells others about Opportunity Desk.


Hello,

In January, I was selected as a participant for the 2012 International Citizen Service (ICS). Youth and community development project organized by a UK organization called Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) which brings together 20 volunteers; 10 from the UK and 10 from Nigeria to live, learn and work together in a community in Akpabuyo L.G.A. of Cross River State, Nigeria.

I learnt about the VSO-ICS program on Opportunitydesk.org, I applied and was successfully selected after a long process of assessment. The experience, I hope is worth the effort as it includes living, learning, and working with young people from different cultures and backgrounds, travels, recommendations and a certificate of participation at the end of 12 weeks.

I would like to inform you that Opportunity Desk is undoubtedly the one stop place for up to date opportunities; the VSO-ICS program is just one out the many jobs, scholarship,education, grants and lots of other opportunities posted on here. Keep visiting this blog, keep maximizing these opportunities!



We wish you all the best Onyi. Keep Shinning!

We await progress stories. Do keep us in the loop of activities as they unfold. All the best!
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Jacqui Joseph selected for Global Change Leaders Program in Canada

We are very pleased to hear from Jacqui Joseph about her selection for the Global Change Leaders Program. Information about the Coady Institute program was posted on Opportunity Desk For You Facebook Group, and Jacqui learnt about it from there. It is really amazing that she took advantage of this opportunity and got selected. It is even more exciting that she is sharing her experience with us.

Read Jacqui's mail below;

Hi Everyone,

I have been selected as a 2012 Global Change Leaders participant. The Global Change Leaders program was posted on Opportunity Desk as the Global South Program sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Through a tough process of selection which saw applications sent from many developing countries, I was greatly privileged to be chosen as a candidate to this program. Amongst the many opportunities posted on OpportunityDesk.org, I learnt about the Global Change Leaders through, in which I feel I owe credit to Opportunity Desk.
 
I would like to encourage you all to keep track of posts presented on Opportunity Desk as it is a great way to stay informed about the amazing opportunities that you may be a part of. For now I am eager to start the program in two weeks time and will definitely keep you all posted on my progress. By the way the program entails a certificate leadership course for seven (7) weeks in Nova Scotia, Canada.

That is great Jacqui!

We await progress stories. Do keep us in the loop of activities as they unfold.
All the best!
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