Venture for Africa
Published in

Venture for Africa

Putting Together a Strong VFA Application

With hundreds of applications coming in from all across the world, you may be wondering how to make your application stand out. Here’s some guidance to get you started.

Venture for Africa fellowship

Every 3–6 months, we assemble a new cohort of young professionals who are looking to take the leap and dive into work with some of Africa’s fastest-growing companies through the Venture for Africa Fellowship Program.

With hundreds of applications coming in from all across the world, you may be wondering how to make your application stand out. Here’s some guidance to get you started.

A. Have a story worth telling

When it comes to the first stage of the VFA application process, the biggest recommendation we can make is to make sure your application tells a compelling story. You should look within yourself and your experiences and draw strong personal insights from your reality to best communicate why you’re looking to gain startup experience and industry knowledge while contributing to a positive impact at a leading African startup.

To make sure your application stands out, be clear about 1) what makes your perspective unique and 2) what you bring to the table.

There are two prompts on the VFA application which we generally use to learn more about a candidate beyond what is already obtainable from a resume.

These are:

  1. Why are you applying for this specific fellowship and/or this company?
  2. Why do you think you are a fit for this fellowship?

With both these questions, we want you to identify and articulate your differences rather than over-identify with common professional identities. Remember that the application reviewer will likely be familiar with the type of work you do. So instead of focusing on the apparent mechanics of the role you are applying for, use the opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and what is different or unique about your own experiences.

B. Take enough time to do your research

Spend quality time engaging in proper research about the role and the startup you are applying to before sending in your application. Some important information will already be written in the job description. Other points to note may be in the startup’s core values or mission statement. Sometimes, important information can be identified by reading a few blog posts or an in-depth profile of the CEO or senior executive in charge of the team you are looking to join. It can also include checking out their competition and learning about the industry as a whole and predictions for its future.

With proper research, you are able to be more specific about how your past experiences and skills can be applied to the position and company you’re applying to. It also gives you a chance to see what growth could possibly look like for you in the future within the company and then build that into your response about why you’ve chosen to work with them.

We hope that these tips prove helpful to you as you put together your application. Good luck!

Have more questions? Reach out to us via fellowships@venturefor.africa.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tobi Lafinhan

I write about workplace tips, tricks & hacks. Co-founder @Venture4Africa.