Job Searching and Personal Development Plan – The level up process!


The PDP and knowing you Goal

Carrying out job search requires you to not only look at what the prospective employers are looking for but also what you are looking for as well.   So having a Personal development portfolio (PDP)  which reveals connections in your skills, interests , goals and strategy .This helps you come up with a clear goal and strategies that are at your disposal.

In other words, you will see within your PDP whether the job is just for survival while you work on your main goal or it is the main pipe line to your goal. I believe the important factor is that , even the survival job should tick a few skills you want to develop for your main goal. its a short term goal.The goals should be split between short term goals , medium term goals and long term goals. Can we agree that “we will see what happens” is not a goal?” okay? …okay!


The PDP and job search planning 

The PDP! The name sounds grander than it actually is, but in simplest terms,  imagine you are holding out the palm of your hand with fingers spread out.  Now, Let’s call The wrist (where the fingers, bones and tendons join together ), as the job you want to ultimately do or better yet , who you want to become. It then follows that your 5 fingers are the different skills , experiences , things you want to do that will give you the highest chance of a strong list aka career.See more on what i wrote about PDPs on these 2 posts – Internship and personal statement

In the past year , a lot of my career as i i knew it changed. Through this change, i had an opportunity to look back at my personal development portfolio i wrote in 2014 and plans i wrote in my diaries around 2015- 2016. What i decided to do, was Not to recreate some of the steps in my career, that i was comfortable with but no longer learning from.  I decided to stop and revisit those ‘fingers’ i wrote a long time ago and look at which ones were not being strengthened at all and put some work , prayer and planning in.

Although , you can lose function of  one finger and your wrist and arm will still operate albeit at reduced functionality, you really want to maximise your potential. It’s my opinion but Orthopaedics are welcome to fact check.

Now enough of me , let’s talk about how you can start the job search planning.



     1.  Set time

Now that you have determined that the job search is a short term goal or means to an end , you will determine how much time you set apart for it. But you have to set time for it every day. I noticed that i tend to complete job applications well in the morning. Simply because my mind is most focused i think. So pick time thats best for you.

      2. Do you have a Dedicated Email account?

This is a tip one of my close friends gave me a few years back. Any time she wanted to start job application process , she would set up a new gmail account and use that for all job application. First reason is to keep track of applications and responses. You don’t want a situation where you  get a response and cant remember what you wrote or which company it is.

After you get the job or done with the application process , you can just deactivate the account if you need to.

    3.  Dedicated Folder?

If you are sending applications by post, keep a copy of the application letter, CV and personal statement in a folder or a screenshot of each of them on your phone if printing is expensive.



If you are on a computer , set a folder and within that folder, sub folders for each application. Label them that will help you remember.

CV and cover letter.

Each application should have a tailored CV and cover letter . I have a blog post on this. have a read.

The Job Search Resources

NewsPaper Job Search

I am still surprised that it is still normal in Malawi for companies to not disclose the expected salary in job adverts. I think most of the posts are unnecessarily elaborate. But , let’s work with what you are presented with – so first thing is to:

Look at the company and what they do.  If you can phone the number on the job advert to ask questions about the role then do so.

If they have any recent news to see why they are hiring for this position. This will give you an idea of how this position will take them in the direction they want to go as a company aka their priorities.  I have now seen from the perspective of an interviewer and interviewee. 

Make the application and submit as soon as possible.


Online Sources


Join or signed into Linked in Here

Linked In Job Search 

a – First set up the Linked In profile . If you already have one, ensure it’s up to date .  You are Branding Yourself when you do this.

So start with the picture recommends 400 x 400 pixels. For those of you like me who don’t like measuring things, you computer can do it for you. or ask for help. we shouldn’t be able to see inside your nostrils. you should not be standing behind a mango tree either or  group photo. anyway, you get the idea.

b – Your Summary- This i think is quite important. See here for note worthy tips on how to describe yourself You might enjoy reading it but don’t make it a facebook post or a church testimony. Even Jesus had fewer words words for pilate and more words for Pharisees – Gotta read the room!.

In my opinion, a summary should not only introduce your academic standing , pursuits, or perhaps business pursuits, but it should also fuse in your personality /character by showing  a bit of your history and how you have chosen the career route . this will also indicate where you are projecting to go. This is not an essay. I see a lot of essays on Linked In. Remember its not facebook. Aim for 1 to 2 paragraphs in the summary.

List of Applicable Skills

From Your personal development portfolio (PDP)  pick out the relevant skills required for the job you get to get.

For example, you are customer service clerk at a bank or any company where you are front line and want to move to a different industry in a managerial role. Using this vacancy from a company Xtratherm company which i saw online, you can write how as a clerk you are the first point of contact with outside stakeholder therefore you introduce them to the company’s services, through conversation you identify other services that will meet the customer’s needs. So you are building relationships and providing a services through identifying needs and

Don’t list what you do. add quantifiable results to the description of what you have done.

Making the Application

Other than applying directly on Linked In, if you know of any recruitment agencies that are hopefully free to join, you should register with them.

Understand the applicant tracking system – Use as many keywords in the vacancy post as possible. Especially key requirements. They should obviously flow with everything else in your application. The Applicant tracking system is an AI tool so it is looking for keywords to narrow down first list of candidates 

Look beyond the tradition sense Job searching 

Don’t shy away from applying on social media , especially in creative industry. However be careful with this route and do your due diligence in checking the company.


Need more help? get in touch with me.




Job Searching and Personal Development Plan – The level up process!

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