This is a belated post on an event Mwansa and I take a lot of pride in…
Every Global Health Corps fellow is required to take part in the selection process for the next class. While we were tasked with reading potential fellow applications and interviewing them, ZamFam noticed an unfortunate lack of professionalism in applications, resumes, and interview skills.
At my university, we had a career services department dedicated entirely to supporting us in resume building, searching for jobs, picking a career track, interviewing for jobs and so much more. I can’t tell you how many times I sought their advice for my resume or went to their sessions to learn about the health field.
In Zambia, not all young adults have access to a career services department or peers and mentors that can readily provide revisions to their applications. In fact, their university career departments don’t even regularly host the type of sessions I attended. Mwansa and I talked about this at length and realized that if we hosted a Professioanl Development Workshop through GHC, we could give back to the Copperbelt since Kitwe has been home to us for a year and no fellows will be placed here next year.
Thus, we held a Professional Development Workshop at the Copperbelt University on May 21st, 2015 for any young professionals who were interested. Sessions included basic job application skills, such as using LinkedIn or how to set up informational interviews, resume and CV building, and actually sitting down and practicing with sample interview questions.
We only took about 3 hours to do this, so our workshop was not exhaustive. We could have talked about professional development for days, there are so many different things to learn. But afterwards we answered the questions we could, exchanged contacts, and sent participants so many materials with job search boards, career advice websites, and other interview resources they could use in their future career search endeavors.
To make it even better, to support us 5 current ZamFam fellows, 3 alumni, and 1 program staff from GHC came for the event. It was amazing to share our lives on the Copperbelt with so many people at once and to receive their support in a project that was so dear to us.
Now that the workshop has passed, another workshop was held in Lusaka by ZamFam Alumni to continue promoting professional development. I feel like I am a bit more equipped, after researching so many career advice platforms, to apply for jobs and it is helping me in my search. And I notice the need for improved application skills through my interactions at work with grant proposals and other friends applying to opportunities.
The workshop gave Mwansa and me an opportunity to exercise our event planning and programming skills. It kept us really busy for a long time, and it was awesome to go through the steps of planning and providing a much-needed opportunity. I never knew that professional development would then become something that we are both passionate about now, but it kind of has. I am excited to see how we can integrate this event into a permanent GHC recruitment process for Zambia next year!