Talk to people in your network to help

I emerged the best in my department at the university but I am still struggling to find a job after school. I have applied in different corporate companies in vain. I’m desperate for employment but I don’t know which strategy I should use. Please share with me any advice that can help.
Joyce Kirabo
Joyce Kirabo

Dear Counsellor,

I emerged the best in my department at the university but I am still struggling to find a job after school. I have applied in different corporate companies in vain.  I’m desperate for employment but I don’t know which strategy I should use. Please share with me any advice that can help.  Yours, Calixte

There are lots of reasons to be denied a job, and it is easy to give up when you feel rejected.  However, persistence and diversification of efforts is crucial to achieving a difficult goal. Think carefully about the opportunities you are pursuing and the possible obstacles that are hindering you from getting your dream job. Do you have the right skills? Do you present yourself well on the interview panel? Is your CV convincingly attractive? You must realise that you are competing against hundreds or thousands of other applicants who are probably better than you in many aspects related to the job-fit skills.

Consider spending quality time updating your resume to appear complete and attractive. This is your selling tool which describes your abilities and portrays the potential skills you want to offer to the new position. Establishing a network of reliable friends, family members and bosses heading different institutions, as well as updating your LinkedIn profile for increased connections can help. Always dress professionally in case of any interview that you may be called for. Treat your job search as a full-time exercise by increasing your exposure to develop personal relationships and connections with people in the field you want to be and go to conventions, conferences and career fairs to make more connections. Think about people that can help you, such as former teachers, former classmates, neighbours, or your relatives and friends. You never know who in your network may hold a promising opportunity. Don’t be hesitant to send them a message or take them out for coffee and ask respectfully.

Building your own brand is a critical step towards getting a job. Branding yourself can help people understand your values and objectives quickly with regard to who you are and what you want to do. Keep dropping your applications for any career opportunities you come across in the newspapers, Internet, radio or TV stations. Different recruiters may be impressed by your CV and develop an idea of hiring you. It’s also crucial that you find a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that will teach you different skills and give you a great breadth of experience to push on.

Alternatively, you can turn into an entrepreneurial and start your own business. You’re surrounded with a huge portfolio of business opportunities for self employment without necessarily having to invest massive amounts of capital. Today fresh graduates are taking aggressive steps towards ensuring their own financial success. You don’t need to be a millionaire, but just little capital is enough to begin with. Opening up an advertising or consultancy company won’t require huge amounts of money. You need to begin small and grow big. Apply sound money management principles in your investment plans while putting special attention on the legality, location and marketability of the business. A well-developed plan will allow you to build a solid reserve and create opportunities for your money to grow.

*********************************************

Their thoughts...

Claude Nsimiyimana, IT specialist

Besides sending applications to different places, there are productive activities you can do that can prepare you for employment or boost your qualifications. Attend trainings in line with your field of study as you carry on the search for employment. Trainings, conferences and seminars offer plenty of resourceful knowledge and skills that can help you find employment.

*********************************************

Chantal Kabanda, planner

Have you thought of things you could do with your skills and knowledge, for instance, job creation? Job creation should also be an option to consider as you plan your career. There are different institutions funding young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas; perhaps you should give it a try.

*********************************************

Vincent Kazubwenge, university student

Don’t give up; it’s still too early to be desperate. Be strategic and take an extra internship opportunity in line with your desired career or what you studied. This will eventually help you to gain experience. At the moment your target should be gaining corporate environment experience that will make you more competitive on the job market.

*********************************************

Yves Ntagungira, sales person

As a fresh graduate what you need is working experience to secure a job of your choice. But, in the meantime, don’t take for granted any employment offer, even if it’s below your qualifications. Accept the offers on table now, no matter how cheap is might pay; it will open your way to more employment opportunities in the future.

Compiled by Dennis Agaba