7 Tips for Graduates seeking jobs
by Sharnade Mc Kerry, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
The time to celebrate one’s years of hard work as a university student has finally arrived, it’s graduation season. Graduates walk across the stage proudly wearing their gown, mortarboard cap and tassels, to receive a certificate that symbolizes years of their hard work. What happens after the ceremony is celebrated? Is a qualification enough to get a job or an internship? In many cases, it just isn’t enough to kickstart one’s career.
South Africa 26.7% of 27.7% unemployed people are graduates. Many graduates deal with the anxiety that comes with an uncertain future. For many, being unemployed is not an option, even if it means getting a job that’s not in the field one studied. The pressure of family can be overwhelming, who sometimes don’t understand that a qualification does not automatically guarantee a job or comfortable salary. One needs to start at the bottom and work your way up. Entering the competitive work industry can be daunting and challenging. The following tips can help graduates get that head start they need after university.
- Create a professional Curriculum Vitae with a cover letter and a professional photograph
A curriculum vitae is the first interaction with a prospective employer, make sure you keep your curriculum vitae short and professional. Take time to prepare a cover letter and take a professional photograph that you can attach to your application.
- Apply, Apply, Apply
Apply everywhere and be careful not to limit yourself. Apply for jobs in your field of study even if you don’t meet all the requirements.
- Prepare for rejection and keep applying
Rejection is inevitable. Try not to take it too personally, sometimes it’s just that you’re not the right fit for the job. Try to remain positive and continue applying until you start getting interviews.
- Don’t get too comfortable in jobs unrelated to what you studied
Don’t get too comfortable with the money you earn from a temporary job. Sometimes a temporary job is good to save up to help improve your job hunt, but it can also be a distraction.
- Create work experience for yourself
Try to get experience in your field while completing your qualification. If you can’t get experience, create your own experience in your field by freelancing or volunteering at companies.
- Volunteer at companies related to your qualification
Approach companies by offering your services for free. You can always impress them with your work ethic or network with people.
- Don’t lose hope and keep applying
There will come a time when you feel despondent but push through and continue applying. The right internship or job will eventually present itself.
It is easy to fall into hopeless despair when fellow graduates move to new cities starting their adult life in internships or jobs. Determination and relentless applying is guaranteed to land you that job or internship to kick start your career.
edited by J. du Preez