Life is a game of inches and so is your job search.

One of my husband’s favourite monologues is from the Al Pacino movie “Any Given Sunday”. In it, Pacino who plays an ageing coach gives his (American) football team a rousing halftime pep talk. 

The most stirring lines of the speech are:-

“You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small.”

And so, it is the same when searching for a job. When you submit your resume in response to a job advert, you are up against hundreds if not thousands of other candidates who are just as qualified as you. A small thing like formatting your resume properly and optimising it for ATS can make the difference to get you past the first screening to the “person screen” where small things like white space, readability and content will get you shortlisted for the interview. As silly as it sounds, I have first-hand experience of candidates being shortlisted for an interview only for them to be unreachable because they changed their contact details and did not bother to update their resume.

During the interview, the interview panel will compare your responses and performance to the other candidates and to the model answers that they have. Small things such as spending some time preparing for the interview, aligning your responses to the job description, your demeanour, your dress sense, your confidence and the questions you ask the panel can be the difference between being offered the job or not.

The sum of all these small things, these inches, will be all the difference between landing that job or coming a close second, and no-one remembers who came second. Don’t believe me? Tell me who came second to Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics in 2008? And that’s the point; Life (and your career advancement) is a game of inches.

We at HUMHR can help you gain those inches. Get in touch with us and let us help you inch closer to your career goals.

Artificial Intelligence in HR – and the implications for your humanitarian career!

A few years ago, while attending a conference in Hyderabad, India, I sat in on a presentation on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing given by IBM Master Inventor, Neil Sahota. It was well presented and surprisingly easy to follow even for a non-techie like me. The presentation focused on cognitive computing solutions such as how IBM Watson could be applied to solving relief and development challenges faced by humanitarian organisations. At the time, I thought it was interesting but never really thought the concepts of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing could apply in my field of specialisation– how wrong I was.

What is AI? defines Artificial intelligence as  – “ the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings” and IBM says this :-Cognitive computing refers to systems that learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans naturally. Rather than being explicitly programmed, they learn and reason from their interactions with us and from their experiences with their environment.”

In a nutshell it is about digital systems that try mimic human intelligence. Examples of AI include self-driving vehicles and the accurate diagnosis of pulmonary conditions based on reading an X-ray. While nascent, AI is also being applied in the HR field particularly in the recruitment and onboarding process. Applications of AI in HR include the analysis of facial expressions during interviews, (helping determine whether a candidate is being truthful in her responses) and the analysis of candidates’ social media footprint and posts to shortlist the candidates with the best cultural fit to the hiring organisation.

Humanitarian organisations are notoriously slow to embrace technology, but we think a number of factors will see a rapid acceptance of AI within the HR space. Primarily because as budgets tighten in the post-COVID world, HR departments will be asked to do even more with less. As it is recruiting teams are swamped as currently a single job posting will attract thousands of applications which will be whittled down to several hundreds after going through an  Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which parses several keywords from the candidates resume and compares it to keywords in the job description. The current model is not sustainable, and it is a matter of time before more organisations start looking at more efficient means of recruitment.

We predict that as a result of a combination of Big Data analytics, tightened budgets and greater collaboration between the humanitarian and private sectors coupled with a desire to get the best candidate, AI will start to grow in leaps and bounds and will constitute a large proportion of how humanitarian organisations do their recruitment within the next decade. Candidates must be equipped to succeed in this new environment where most decisions related to a candidate’s potential recruitment are done by a robot.

At HUMHR we offer interview coaching that will help you navigate this increasingly largely human-less process and boost your chances of landing the dream job. In addition, we can help you optimise your social media activities and help align your resume, career goals with your social posts. Get in touch with us and we will “partner with you to do good

HUMHR’s CPCC qualification set to enhance Career Coaching Sessions

In this blog, I will talk about how I found my career purpose and what led me to pursue and attain my career coach certification the Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

As well as, how I worked with a coach to learn and strengthen my coaching skills, transforming my career into something I did not envision at the age of 23 when I embarked on my HR graduate trainee program.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

In junior school, I wanted to be a lawyer. In high school, I wanted to be an accountant. If you asked me in my 20’s “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time”- my response would have been as HR Lead / Director in the financial services sector.  The common thread was that I saw myself rising up the corporate ladder to the executive level.

For a prolonged period, I was focused on climbing up that ladder, starting off my career with an HR graduate training program for a big conglomerate and then rising up the ladder in the HR management field for a financial institution.

 Then life happened and it took me on a long, scenic sojourn punctuated with highs and lows.

The Journey of Self-discovery:

My journey physically took me to many different countries globally, having relocated from my home country many years ago. I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to live and work in places in southern Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

In 2010, I moved to Haiti where my husband had been deployed to assist with the Haiti earthquake response. That is the place where I truly found my passion. For the first time in my career, I was exposed to the humanitarian world initially as a volunteer, before becoming a member of the HR team with an international NGO.

I met and worked with truly amazing people – those who have the heart to serve the most vulnerable in this world and I got a chance to meet people who literally had lost everything:- I will never forget meeting a young man who lost his parents, home, all his worldly possessions but yet he still managed to smile and have a positive outlook on life. 

My experience in Haiti had a profound effect on me. It put a lot of things in perspective and made me realise that while there may be degrees to suffering, the power of the human spirit is universal in everyone.  I unearthed an innate desire and skill to help humanitarians with their career needs. I found myself giving advise on how to develop their careers and how to handle sensitive work situations.

As my reputation grew, I started getting numerous requests from friends and friends of friends. The myriad of requests included: –  

  • CV reviews
  • answer questions related to their careers
  • which jobs I thought they should apply for
  • how to negotiate contracts,  
  • 2 offers – which one should they take?
  • how to handle issues with their supervisors and subordinates;
  • how to manage performance and how to deal with conflict in the workplace etc.

I became a sounding board for all career related issues to my friends and their networks. I didn’t even know that coaching was a thing at the time but that is what I was – “a career coach”.

Initially I did it in my free time but as the positive feedback grew on how my insights and advice led to desired and sometimes life changing outcomes, I decided to make a career out of it. Words cannot describe the immense satisfaction I feel when I contribute to people achieving their career goals. This has always been a passion of mine and that’s how HUMHR was born!

In hindsight, Haiti was a blessing in so many different ways, one of which was the conception and birth of HUMHR.

The Certified Professional Career Coach journey

In January this year, I decided to hone my coaching skills and enhance the techniques in order to better serve my clients and provide them with the support they need to be successful in their careers.  

I needed to get a coach 😉 and a certification. After much research, I settled on the Certified Professional Career Coach program (CPCC), a certification of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC). Directed and coached by Diane Hudson, the investment was worth it. I completed the program in six months (the goal was three months but then once again life in COVID happened).

I completed a comprehensive training/coaching program that provided solid tools for career management and job search coaching in today’s employment market. I submitted a testing portfolio that included documented coaching hours.

The modules and video training were intense and provided me with tools and techniques that complimented my experience to date. I had to log some of my coaching sessions, and I found that the skills I was learning were adding immense value to my clients.

My top two takeaways from the coaching program:

  • The structure provided helped me to develop my own systems and tools in my coaching programs.
  • Incorporating Diane’s “whole person theory” and using the query process to bring revelations about values and motivation. I used the values exercise to determine my values and which areas in my life needed improvement. This helped me in setting my goals and putting in plan an action plan for my business and my individual development while focusing on my whole person as a totality.

The program helped me gain clarity on which direction I wanted to take my coaching programs and HUMHR as well as establishing my identity as a certified professional career coach drives passion and energy towards those goals.

The journey to self- discovery has been long, winding and continues but for now, I can say that I have found my purpose and that purpose is linked to your career success. I look forward to partnering with you to do good!

Take advantage of our current promotion! Get the newly revamped Platinum Package at the old price here.

The Only Job Search Checklist You Will Ever Need

Do you ever feel like every effort you put into getting a job always lands you at the same place?

“We regret to inform you..”

I have been there too. What is really demotivating is that you do your best and are the best at what you do, but somehow your best is never enough.

How should you prove that you deserve a chance? And how can you be mindful about how you go about finding a job?

Are there any tricks? Or hacks that make hired candidates any different from you? The answer is a resounding YES!

Like everything else looking for a job requires a good strategy. And that begins with an understanding of what is required from you.

In this blog allow me to give you some useful tips nobody tells you about. In your lifetime you will probably make the mistake of foregoing one of these major steps. Here is to never again!

Determine your job search objective.  

Ask yourself the following upfront.

What, When, Who, Why and How?

  • Why do I want/need a new job?
  • What kind of job am I looking for? (Area of interest).
  • When do I need a new job?
  • Who do I want to work for?
  • Where do I want to work?
  • How am I going to look for THE job?

Be clear with yourself what kind of development work you want to do. Do you want to work locally or abroad? What are you good at? Which organisation could use your skillset?

Doing this allows you to target your efforts. It gives you perspective on what to study for and the kind of experience you need.

Update your Resume/ CV/ LinkedIn profile.

Do an online review of all your social media accounts and clean up any “incriminating” posts.

Keep it clean. Online reputation is critical.

This also means updating your work experience as you grow in your career by removing some outdated resume items. Also tailoring your resume for the job you are applying for.

Read our resume writing tips on this link to get more appreciation on how to use job descriptions and keywords.

Research the targeted organization

Whether it be the UN, IFRC, The World Bank, World Vision or any current or potential future openings.

Think around what the world concerns are visa vi your areas of interest.

If you are interested in protection and security for children you might want to target Save the Children or World Vision for instance.

Migration issues could lead you to the IFRC, IOM or NRC.

If you don’t have enough experience you can start by volunteering locally and build your way to the top.

Networking is key

Distribute your resume to potential employers/ apply to the advertised position.

Always include a Cover letter.

There are different strategies you can employ when applying – passive or active.

Passive means you are waiting for openings to be advertised while active means you are actively enquiring from your network, from recruiters and on social media for any opportunities and you can often get invited to apply to a job before it goes public.

Prepare for interviews

This is a great time for you to start practicing common interview questions.

Particularly the “easy” questions

“Tell me about you”? (Have your 60-second elevator speech ready)

“Where do you want to be in five years?”

Don’t forget to send “Thank you letters” after interviews.

For a more in-depth interview preparation write up, follow this link and start practising!

Be prepared to negotiate your contract

Not always the salary!

Even start dates can be negotiated.

Things such as benefits, bonuses,contract renewals, performance evaluations etc. can be discussed as well.

The Avant Garde

When developing your career plan/strategy you need to ask yourself a LOT of questions.

Here are some more to think about in addition to the ones above.

  1. Why am I looking for a new job? What are my key selling points?
  2. What kind of job am I willing to accept? What kind of job will I not accept? Am I willing to relocate? Do I want a family post or a hardship post?
  3. What salary do I need?

Congratulations on your new assignment!

HUMHR wishes you all the success as you continue to establish your career in the Humanitarian world.

As you start your new assignment remember that your performance is key and you need to have career goals and manage them well to be successful!

As a career coach, I partner with you to unravel these questions and develop a strategy that you can follow step by step and be accountable for. We develop your script for success!

Feel free to engage me on a job search strategy anytime. My email is

What every Humanitarian worker needs to know about their CV content

Your resume answers the question “Why are you the best person for the position advertised”

In the last blog, I gave you the 5 tips for writing that winning resume. As promised in this blog we will chat about content construction. Ensure that those two or three pages are packed with value-add information. This is the information that answers the question, “Why are you the best person for the position?”

Who am I?

The first things on your CV are

1. Your name

2. Contact information.

Remember this is your brand so ensure that you use your name consistently across all your career marketing documents i.e. your CV, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, etc. Social media branding is very important in today’s job search world. I will talk about this another time.

Your name should stand out. So, you want it to be bold. To achieve this, use a larger font than the body of the CV. A size 16 or 18 should do the job.

This may seem obvious, but I will say it anyway. Ensure that your contact information is correct “in the present”. You don’t want to miss that invitation to an interview because you forgot to update your email address. Or because you used your “home” phone number in Kenya when you are currently deployed in Bangladesh.

The headline tells the recruiter or hiring manager in a short statement who you are. Some examples are:

What should be in your content?

Professional Profile/Summary

Here you will write a brief summary of your experience, skills or value add. Begin by highlighting in a short 2-3 sentence paragraph or bullet points what you have to offer.

Areas of expertise/Skills

You will dig deep into what you are best at in this section. Point out 6 to 8 skills, focusing on the keywords in your particular area of work.

For instance, an Emergency Preparedness Expert would include:

  • Crisis Management
  • Program Development
  • Proposal Writing
  • Health Security Emergency Preparedness
  • Early Warning Systems
  • Emergency Risk Management

These are the things you want to indicate to show that you are aware of what the job entails and capable of meeting the job requirements.

Career Summary/ Experience

This section is where you should “show off” your experience and qualifications. Go back 10 years and use reverse chronology, starting with your current employment. It is important to highlight your accomplishments. Do not waste your time regurgitating your job description. DO this instead!

Spend some time for each position you have held answering the question “What is it that I am most proud of? Select about 5 accomplishments and describe them using the Situation- Action- Result model.

Below is an example taken from a former client’s resume. By quantifying the work and modifying the language, you add weight and context to the statement:

[Before] Managed in-country budgets.

[After] Oversaw in-country budgets (up to 4 million pounds annually) with current budgetary oversight of 15 million Euros in 3 countries in the West African region.

Education and Professional development

This is your opportunity to display that doctorate in Public Health or International Development.

Also, use this section to show that you didn’t learn in college but that you have been consistent in your professional development activities. Talk about how you attained that leadership certificate. Include that you are emergency preparedness ready, having attended the Humanitarian Emergency response training. Any other useful and relational qualifications should be included here, to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the job.

Professional Development

There is a lot that goes into writing that winning CV. I cannot go into it all in a single blog especially without going through an actual resume to build on the points. Things such as

  • Sentence structuring,
  • The use of action verbs,
  • Turning passive into active sentences

To round this up,

  1. Start with a bold introduction that includes your name and title. Use your up to date contact details
  2. Your professional profile should capture the bulk of your experience and skills at a bird’s eye view.
  3. Maximise on the use of keywords to demonstrate your experience and appreciation of the job requirements to show your areas of expertise
  4. Your career summary should be in reverse chronology and speak to the achievements you made during each assignment
  5. All your educational and professional development training especially outside of college to show your commitment towards self- improvement and consistency in your file.

Click here to download a customisable CV template and create your own CV now.

Should you have any questions, you can contact me on I will be happy to answer your specific questions. The first 3 people to reach out will get a free CV review.

Author: Batje Chibafa, HumHr Managing Partner

Batje has over ten years’ experience in multi-cultural experience in Human Resources, implementing Organizational Development HR strategies across all facets of the HR function. Proven history of success implementing strategic improvements, creating productive business partners, and providing value to organizations. Demonstrated strength in evaluating processes and determining cost-effective solutions to increase efficiency and improve accuracy. Has excellent organizational development and facilitation skills with a passion for positive change.


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