Recognizing the evolving demands of the modern workforce, Karatina University acknowledges the critical role that personal branding and employability skills play in shaping the future of its students. With a vision to empowering its graduates beyond academic excellence, the office of the Dean, School of Business, in collaboration with the Department of Human Resource Development, took a proactive initiative to invite a seasoned professional to impart invaluable insights on these essential facets of career development to the students of Human Resource Management and Communication and Public Relations in the School.

On 30th November, 2023 the students were privileged to gain insights from a distinguished speaker, James Githeki Mwangi, an esteemed alumnus of the University and a seasoned HR professional and consultant. Mr. Mwangi’s talk served as a beacon of inspiration to the students as he seamlessly bridged his personal journey from student life to the realm of Human Resources. Drawing from his wealth of experience, he shared invaluable lessons on employability and personal branding.

Human Resource and Communication and Public Relations students during the workshop

He started by outlining the various components of employability, which include;

  • Academic achievement (degree attainment and relevant coursework).
  • Practical skills (technical skills and work experience).
  • Professional navigation skills (networking, adaptability, problem-solving, critical thinking and ethical judgement).
  • Personal attributes (interpersonal, communication, initiative and drive).

“It’s not about getting a job but about being able to adopt to different work environment, continue to learning and contribute effectively to the organization,” James emphasized.

He also described personal branding as, “what people would say about you when you leave the room. It is not just about how you present yourself professionally but also how you are perceived by others both online and offline.” These are the areas to start and perfect for personal branding:

  • CV /resume writing.
  • Cover letter writing.
  • Online application.
  • Social media presence.
  • Networking.

Mr. Mwangi also shared his insights on ‘Boosting Personal Branding’ in these ways: brand identity (self-reflection), networking (by attending events), online presence (social media presence), (sharing opinion), consistent branding and volunteering.

The speaker also talked about the importance of first impression and social media. “How you present yourself should be 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% words we use.” He added that 70% of recruiters reject candidates based on the information they find online about them.

Concluding the enlightening session, the HRD Head of Department, Dr. Ombaka, gave a profound perspective on the hiring process. She explained that the department doesn’t merely interview for qualifications but places paramount importance on attitude and soft skills. In a professional landscape where interpersonal dynamics and adaptability play pivotal roles, Dr. Ombaka’s message resonated as a guiding principle for the students.

This insightful declaration echoed the University’s commitment to producing not only academically proficient graduates but individuals whose attitudes and soft skills make them invaluable assets in the ever-evolving world of work. The HoD’s words served as a catalyst for a shift in the mindset, encouraging students to hone these essential qualities for a holistic and successful career journey.

James Gatheki Mwangi (at the middle), Dr Ombaka (second from the right), Gladys Mathenge (second from the left) and some of the students pose for a photo at the Karatina University School of Business

In nutshell, Mr. Mwangi’s engagement connected the students to the real-world application of their skills and also served as a testament to the University’s commitment to providing students with insights from accomplished alumni who have successfully navigated their careers.