As youth unemployment increases throughout the world, the level of education of young people continues to increase. In years gone by, 12 years of schooling would have been sufficient to secure a job. However, currently, an undergraduate degree does not guarantee employment. What you learn in the classroom might not be enough. The current job market requires creativity, patience and a significant amount of self confidence. About to embark on the job hunting journey myself, I have had to interrogate how prepared I am and how prepared I feel for the next chapter. At the same time, recognising that there are no guarantees.
10 things I have finally come to know about the job hunt:
1. Resources: Use the resources available to you. If there is a career centre at your school or university, visit it regularly. Inquire about how your skills might match positions and professions that you were previously not aware of.
2. Be Creative: Your degree does not dictate your career path. Tertiary education is about skills: learning how to be critical; learning how to analyse; learning how to work well under pressure. Recognise the skills that you have learned throughout your years or study, in addition to the content, in order to boost your C.V. and demonstrate your flexibility.
3. Detours: While studying, many of us have a very clear idea about the direction life will take post-university. Usually, reality doesn’t look the same and that is okay. Make the most of whatever situation you are in and use it as an opportunity to grow.
4. Patience: Finding a job often takes time. Try your best to be comfortable in the discomfort. It will come, and if it doesn’t broaden your search (See 1).
5. Rejection: In your job hunt, you are bound to be rejected (or worse, ignored) at least once. This does not make you less amazing than you are, it just means that your amazingness does not match the amazingness needed for that position.
6. Costs: Looking for a job can be quite costly. Try your best to ensure that you have enough financial resources to sustain you during the period of limbo. Also factor in travelling costs (to and from interviews), postage etc.
7. Learning: You never stop learning. That goes for job interviews too. They get better with time. Be comfortable, confident and ask questions. Asking questions during the interview (about the organisation or the relevant position) shows the interviewers that you have done your homework about your possible place of employment and that you are interested and engaged in the position.
8. Prejudice: As much as people some people hate to acknowledge or talk about it, prejudice does exist. Don’t let the prejudice of another affect how you feel about yourself and your abilities. Also, confront your own prejudice: Was the interviewer/ your boss who you expected? If the answer is no, why not?
9. Changes: Career dreams and goals change. your ideas about what you want might change or the organisations you aspired to work for might not be what you expect. Take those companies/organisations off the pedestal you put them on and find something new. Don’t compromise on your core values!
10. Entrepreneurship: Think about whether creating your own job may be the best thing for you, both short and long term. Many of us can’t imagine having a boss (and a cranky boss at that). Being your own boss might be the best alternative. Put all your skills to the test and try to create something new.
Photo Credit: See http://www.viruseyes.com/vision-virus-nature/cheetahspackhunting-gazelle/