Job search tips
Congratulations! You just graduated from the university despite challenges, triumphs, temptations, and all other things which had the potential to derail you. Of course, you are proud of your achievements because you have just overcome the first hurdle in life. However, you have mixed feelings about what the future holds for you, and rightfully so.
According to government statistics, Kenya universities churn out at least 50,000 graduates annually. That is a large number in a market where unemployment rates stand at 40%. If you just graduated, chances are that you are probably searching for your first job if you did not manage to secure a job before graduation. Well, here are job hunting tips to get you started the right way.
It is not a competition
Most people get lost and frustrated because their friends land jobs soon after graduation while they can’t seem to even secure an interview. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with your degree and there is nothing wrong with you. People hit different milestones in life at different times. With the education system, you all seem to attain the same milestones at the same time but that is where it ends. After graduation, you will all take different paths in life and achieve different things at different times, including landing your first job. Do not sweat it when 50% of your friends seem to have landed their first jobs soon after graduation while you have not. Run your race.
Take up internship opportunities and volunteer whenever possible
Employers keep saying that the current crop of graduates is not skilled enough to take on challenges which crop up at work. As a result, they tend to go for experienced people and leave out graduates. But, do not despair. To close this skills gap, take up internship opportunities or volunteer with local organisations. This way, you will gain the much-needed experience to convince employers to give you a chance to prove yourself. It may seem like you are being shortchanged but in a world where skills are increasingly being preferred to certificates, it is in your best interest to build your skillset through any available opportunities.
Besides, that internship or volunteer opportunity can easily turn into a job opportunity if you can prove yourself. Be open-minded and willing to learn and you are likely to land your first job through that internship or volunteer opportunity.
Stop chasing the dream job
Very few people get their dream jobs immediately after graduation or get into their dream companies after graduating. It is perfectly fine to take up any job that comes your way for survival because bills do not pay themselves. Do not pressure put pressure on yourself to find the right job which will set the pace for your in the right career. Do not simply reject an opportunity because it does not lie in your chosen field or it is not what you studied in university. Instead, work on building your experience and getting your foot through the door. Your first job will not always be in your preferred career path but it will help you kick-start your career. In the same light, it is quite hard that your first salary will be anything to write home about. In most cases, your first salary will only help you meet your basic needs for survival so do not be fixated on the salary. Just make sure that it is enough to help you meet your basic needs while giving you some experience.
Use your networks wisely
Your network is equal to your net worth. Let those around you know that you are open to any job opportunity. Ask them for references. Let them know that you are on the lookout for any opportunities. You will be surprised at how people are willing to help you get your foot through the door. While at it, sign up to BrighterMonday to get regular job alerts. This way, you will get to know of available job opportunities as soon as they arise.
You do not need to meet all the qualifications in order to apply for a job
Most people fail to apply for jobs because they do not meet all the requirements for the job. But, the employer is not looking for the perfect candidate. Take note of what the employer says are important or must-have skills and if you meet them, then apply for the job. There are very few people who fit the job description perfectly. So, if you meet at least 50% of the requirements, apply for the job and indicate that you are willing to learn. A willingness to learn is more important than meeting all the qualifications for the job.
Pay attention to all employers
You probably dream of getting into the big companies immediately after graduation but the truth is, most of those companies will not always have open positions especially at entry-level. Therefore, when hunting for your first job, do not overlook small and medium sized companies, most of which usually have job opportunities since they are expanding. They also act as very good training grounds for you, enabling you to gain the experience you need to move to the next level.
Looking for that elusive first job can be frustrating and in some cases, stressful. However, these job hunting tips should set the stage for a more purposeful job hunting experience for graduates. Despite the rise in the number of graduates each year, it is still possible to get a job that can set the stage for your success.