Is it possible to secure a job immediately after graduation?
Securing for a job immediately after graduation is an uphill task for many people. I remember during my undergraduate years, everyone used to say that it does not matter what you know, what matters is who you know. But this is not true. Yes, the majority of employers will only hire referrals but a lot more others give jobs to the most qualified applicants. However, to secure a job anywhere, you must meet the minimum qualifications that always include relevant training and some years of experience.
Gain relevant work experience while still in school
Every company will always give you some form of training before you start working there, but it is important for you to bring some level of expertise. Below are some of the ways you can gain work experience while still in school:
Leadership opportunities in school
Work experience does not have to come from sitting in an office from 9-5. Neither does it have to be a salaried work. There are many ways to gain relevant work experience while still in school. Regardless of your industry or career, there are some skills you must have that may never be taught in school. These include:
- Leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Ability to work under minimal supervision
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
These are skills you can gain as you grow up. You can gain them when you serve in leadership positions in school while volunteering in the community and while interacting with your family and friends. School offers a wide range of opportunities for everyone to develop all these skills.
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Leadership by example
Nevertheless, you do not need to have served as a leader to develop leadership skills. You can lead without taking any leadership role anywhere, and everybody who sees you will be able to see the leader in you. Start by taking charge of your life and approaching doors yourself, not sending another person to knock on your behalf.
Short-term holiday jobs
Another way to gain relevant work experience is by taking up short-term holiday jobs in various establishments. You can work as a supermarket attendant, shop assistant, waiter/waitress, messenger, receptionist among others.
Paid and unpaid internships
In addition, you can work as an intern in any company you want. There are some companies that charge for internship in case you break anything, but others will pay you a monthly stipend for helping out. The best way to translate your class knowledge into real-life experience is by working in a real company. Of course, you will have to sit with someone who will train you so you can help them with their daily chores. This means you must be a very quick learner and also teachable.
I do not believe anyone will turn you away if you are offering to work for free, as long as they have enough resources to support you while at work. If you cannot secure a position in a private company, try Government ministries and parastatals. They always have vacancies for interns and it is a great place to start.
if you have some free time during the day or evening, you can look for some part-time jobs. Most students are already into online writing jobs, but if you want to be an engineer then this may not be the right job for you. Find some relevant job either online, through referrals, or within your network and do it. I’m assuming that you have guardians to take care of your financial needs, do not need to pay rent and other responsibilities and so it is easy to take up unpaid jobs. Think about people who need someone to hold brief for an employee who went on maternity leave or a small company with limited resources. Moreover, insurance companies are always looking for salespeople and this could be a good opportunity to build up some of these skills and still earn while still in school.
It is said that many people who join universities in Nairobi rarely finish school. This is because there are many work opportunities for them. One of my former colleagues was a student taking evening classes when he secured the job. However, the catch was that he was already contributing stories to the company as a freelancer, and so when an opening came for an online journalist, it was easy for him to fit in.
Education today is quite flexible, and those who have studied in the US will tell you that having a regular job while still studying is the norm there. Even here back at home, you can take up a day job and still attend classes if you are taking evening classes like my former colleague. Alternatively, you can work during the holidays. One thing you need to keep at the back of your mind is that school is important and so dropping out because of a small job opportunity may backfire on you in the near future.
Work as a volunteer in your school
Every University department has an association. There are also societies and clubs that require proper organisation, and this work is done by students. So if you are in a university and do not know about anything else other than lecture halls and your lecturers, you cannot blame anyone if you do not secure a job immediately after graduation.
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Work-study programmes are usually for needy students who need to make some money for upkeep. The last time I checked, students on this programme were earning 30 shillings per hour. Working for 3 hours a day leaves them with 90 shillings, which is enough to buy three meals in most university cafeterias. However, if you are not needy, do not fight for these jobs because there is someone in your class who cannot even afford transport back home.
Do you have a passion or interest in a field? What have you learnt about that field? What questions do you have? What new ideas do you think should be considered? They say if you want to know a person’s mind, listen to their words. The best place to put your words and speak your mind is not on social media, especially if you want to secure a job immediately after graduation. SHow what is in your mind without having to work anywhere, and future employers will be able to tell if what you have in your mind is good for their business. If you do not know how to get started, get in touch and I will assist you where possible.
Work on your attitude
It is easy to gain work experience, and it is also easy to showcase your talent through blogging. However, talent alone is not enough to give or keep you in employment. A good hire is the one who has the talent as well as good attitude towards work and other colleagues at work. Maybe you did not get an opportunity to gain work experience like your friends, but you need to be motivated to work from within. Personal drive is what makes employees happy, and happy employees are productive. Unless you are working for the government, you must bring value to the company for you to keep working there.
In conclusion, everyone can secure a job immediately after graduation. However, this is not a matter of luck. You must work hard to gain relevant experience and prove to your future employer that you are the right match. Please share your job hunting experiences in the comments box below and help other job seekers.