Being unemployed for any period of time can be very frustrating and lead to a feeling of helplessness. And the longer one stays without a job, the more difficult it becomes to get employed. With research showing that it takes on average 5 years for a graduate in Kenya to get a job, it pays to be creative when it comes to job hunting.
Be Where Opportunity Can Find You
It is difficult for a job to find you at home so it pays to go out where jobs can easily locate you. Increase your chances of being hired by being in the face of those who are seeking to hire.
Start small and grow. Very few people are willing to accept jobs that are not in line with their level of training. There is a lot you can either teach yourself or undertake short courses that will make it easier for you to enter the job market. It might seem unacceptable to join the workforce as a driver, front office staff, customer service or sales and marketing staff while you have a degree in law or computer science. It is, however, more difficult to be unemployed year after year.
Take a short course such as driving or machine operator course. Apply for different kinds of jobs including the jobs that are easier to get, even as you continue looking for the right job as per your qualifications. Opportunities don’t find us while we are sitting in the house mourning about not being able to find a job. Go out there and get busy working where opportunities have a chance to find you.
Give your best at your job and get noticed. Be helpful and go beyond your call of duty. Offer to do extra duties in your free time while keeping your eyes open for openings in your line of qualifications. Make sure to capture it all in your CV.
2. Create Employment For Yourself
One reason why graduates in Kenya find it difficult to get absorbed into the job market is because their areas of training are not in line with the needs of the market. Jobs such as mechanics, machine operators, farmers, technicians, graphic designers, tour guides, photographers, video editors, and waiters are usually available but graduates are neither trained in those fields nor are they interested in such jobs. However, being jobless year after year is worse.
We live in the age of information. We are spoilt for choice in terms of online resources. You can train yourself in a line of work that enables you to be self-employed. There are online tutorials to guide you. You can train yourself in hairdressing, baking, painting, writing, web design, software development and much more.
Self-education takes dedication as you have to set your own schedules and it does take several months or a couple of years of continuous training to acquire the necessary expertise. Manage your time well. Allocate time for making job applications and also for training in the new line of work you wish to pursue. If you put in the work and are disciplined, you can be an expert in a new field in six to nine months, probably less if you give it your all.
Package Yourself Right
Two things create first impressions; your CV and your physical appearance. Many fresh graduates fail to get hired because of their CVs. Prepare your CV with utmost care. Make sure that you capture all the important information including responsibilities you have had in school as well as in the community.
Read your CV over and over again and correct grammatical and spelling errors. Cross check for correct flow of ideas. Talk to the people you would like to serve as your referees and let them know that you are looking for a job and would appreciate their support. Print your CV on quality paper and present it well, preferably in an attractive folder rather than in an envelope.
Take care of your personal appearance even if you have only one good outfit. Keep it clean and well pressed and also have matching accesories for it. Many people might not notice that you wear the same outfit, especially if you are creative in varying the accessories.
Something else that works against many fresh graduates is not having clarity about what they really want out of life. They are too general when looking for a job, ready to accept whatever job comes their way. Take time to evaluate yourself in terms of skills and expertise, passions, capabilities and personality. What sort of work makes you come alive?
Define your desired line of work to the minutest detail and package yourself according to what you have to offer. Avoid having periods in your life when you are idle as that will translate into gaps in your CV.
Once you have clarity about the sort of work you want to pursue, get busy looking for opportunities to get involved in activities that give you relevant experience, even if you will have to volunteer. Capture your roles and experiences in such tasks in detail. Remember that many employers are unlikely to ask you how much you earned while performing such tasks. They are interested in the specific roles and responsibilities you have experience in.
Do not fall in the trap of many fresh graduates who wonder how prospective employers expect them to have job experience yet they have never been employed. Use your creativity to acquire relevant experience as you continue searching for your dream job.
Much as the job market is constantly shrinking and getting jobs is becoming more difficult by the day, there is a lot you can do to beat the unemployment trap and get your dream job faster.
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