Life after university can prove to be extremely difficult especially when one is still trying to make sense of one's next move. This article will provide the reader with some practical tips for graduates who are seeking employment opportunities as so many are often faced with the question; “What am I going to do now that I’ve completed my studies?”. By default, one will start thinking about finding employment to put into practice whatever knowledge was gained during one's studies - which many can attest to as not being as easy as ABC. The post-graduation phase can prove to be a very confusing time for a graduate not only due to the highly competitive market that makes job-seeking overwhelming, but also due to the lack of information pertaining to what one can make of one's qualification/s. Here are some points to take into consideration as a graduate.
INVEST IN RESEARCH
The average adult spends approximately a third of their life at work. A World Health Organization (WHO) report on occupational health reports that more than 40% of work-related problems are due to issues such as stress and burnout. While the desire to earn a living may be a leading motivation behind most employment seeking, what drives one to keep a job however relies on other factors related to employee experience. With that, it is essential to know what kind of an organisation one wants or is willing to be involved with. So putting some time aside to research about the working environment of the organisation in question and finding out more about its vision and mission as a whole may give a picture of what impact they will be making within the organisation. Investing time in finding an organisation with values that resonate with one’s personal values is necessary as some reasons for remaining in an employment opportunity include components of job satisfaction such as development, value or even working conditions that one is subjected to. Not only will a graduate experience the anxiety and stress that accompanies job seeking and rejection, individuals who are looking for an opportunity need to research to find their reasons for choosing a company and educate themselves on the prospective employment organisation so that one can get a sense of how they can benefit as an employee with their offered services.
Graduates need to develop a smart approach to market themselves and their skill set. Thinking about whether or not one is a logical choice for a prospective employer, having a particular skill and providing evidence of ones past achievements, and even promoting oneself on social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, are some methods to market oneself. A good place to start is a resume or curriculum vitae. Using a template, and refreshing and updating your resume increases one’s chances of being considered for a position. When it comes to standing out, I am reminded of Zozibini Tunzi’s iconic answer to the question “ What should we be teaching young girls today?” at the Miss Universe 2019 pageant in which she spoke about taking up space. In the context of this article, this ideal of cementing oneself is not meant to resonate with girls only, but is to be considered by all that are aiming or working towards their big break.
LESS IS MORE
When seeking a post-graduate employment opportunity, one needs to mind one's manners. The Internet is loaded with numerous websites that speak to email etiquette such as appropriate greeting, conciseness and professionalism. When making online applications and attending interviews, it is key that one considers the fact that they are not the only applicant and that the employer receives (possibly) hundreds of applications that need to be responded to. So highlight what needs to be said, but be brief. Don’t rush to click “send” and take some time to review the contents of one’s application. It will definitely not hurt to format one’s application by keeping the contents professional. Always analyse the sentence and paragraph construction of the application whether it be cover letter, motivational letter or email. Paying attention to detail and the contents of one’s application will show the employer that the applicant is likely to make minimal errors and achieve thoroughness in their tasks. One can only assume that employers have busy schedules and possibly only have time for concise emails. When finally reviewing one’s application form or email, be sure that the prospective employer’s job has been made a little easier by providing an easy-to-read email.
At times it happens that there aren’t any available employment offers for one’s skill-set or qualification level. And for others it may be difficult to find opportunities in the specific field that they have obtained a qualification in and this will require one to think out-of-the-box. This refers to broadening one’s job searches and not limiting searches to the programme or course that one had enrolled for in varsity. It is highly possible to perform well in vacancies that are not related to a specific field of study through thinking about what one’s other passions are and skill set is. Alternatively, when graduates are struggling to find a paying job, they can look into volunteering. This can be achieved by asking questions about the kind of initiatives the organisation is involved in and politely requesting to offer volunteer-based services. Not only does volunteer experience look good on one’s resume, it additionally provides an opportunity to network with people, hone insight into different career opportunities that had not been considered viable, and finally getting some valuable practical experience.
As hard as it is, one should not be hard on oneself and remember to be kind towards oneself. Being idle can bring problems for those who thrive off of a routine. So beginning to plan for one’s future before completing one’s studies will help to prepare them to steer in the desired direction. Considerations on furthering one’s studies, taking on a totally different course, and enrolling to study a short course are amongst some of the viable options. If one feels one may have the flair to run one's own business, one can start thinking creatively about one's hobbies and activities that one is interested in and use that as a basis to formulate a business plan. The mere thought or reality of staying idle is horrifying for some and thinking of how one can capitalise off of one’s skills while waiting for an ideal employment opportunity may bring new prospects to the horizon.
As the process of applying and waiting for one’s lucky break can be discouraging at times, it is important to have some form of social connection. The sending and waiting process is understandably stress and anxiety inducing for some. Whether it be a family member, friend or someone who is also going through the job-seeking process, you will need to have people that you trust and rely on to share your journey with for support and to serve as a reminder that one is not on their own.
While in some fortunate cases, individuals may have made sense of their careers and acquired employment opportunities in the form of learnerships or internships, others on the other hand need to go through the grueling process of seeking for organisations that have vacancies in their specialty. It can be disappointing to the self to live without any financial income or the expected finances to live independently; especially after obtaining a certain qualification. Solely applying for employment and waiting for an organisation/s to offer one employment will not always prove to be sufficient. And with that, graduates need to educate themselves more about the different opportunities that are out there in the world and make those opportunities work for them. Believe in yourself and develop your skills through the waiting, there is light at the end of the tunnel.