This is a celebratory missive- a champions’ fist in the air whoop! Whoop! Shut down this street and high five me chant.’ This time there’ll be no pointing fingers and blaming each other for the state you are in. None of that, this time round we offer a helping hand. With this, we are pointing forward and not towards you. It looks pitch black, but trust us, there is a way. We are celebrating you while leading the way to a better place.
This is for the millennial Kenyan graduate. You who grinds your way through campus gathering all the relevant certificates needed for the competitive job market. You burn the midnight oil and sometimes go through your day like a zombie because you are affixed with getting the highest level of certification possible. We are sorry the sideshows seem to shut you out of the picture.
So many blog posts on how beauty has made a certain so and so rich, so many rumours on how the society is filled with jobless graduates. You might wonder how bright the future is for you after graduation. What happened to qualifications getting you through your career like the good old days? Qualifications still matter, a lot! It’s just that the stakes have risen a bit. You need more than those.
We might not be able to give a trophy to celebrate your efforts, but we can give you something better. A cheat sheet! A mwakenya to help you out. Here, dear friend, are the three things you need to get through the job market. It might not be the Nobel Peace Prize, but you wouldn’t trade it for a gold monkey.
1. It’s about who you know*
What this means is that you need to build a network of professional connections with people in your industry. Attend events like the Young Leaders Network Meetup. People you meet in these events end up to be mentors, referees, and even business partners!
2. Develop your soft skills
Anyone with graduate papers is like a freshly painted car, dull and indifferent. What makes you spark in a potential employers’ eyes? It’s the finishing polish you will apply using your soft skills. These are among others, your communication skills and presentation skills. Perfect these and you will be irresistible. Identify your Unique Skill Set and someone, somewhere will need your skills. It works every time.
3. Be proactive
In everything you do, be a self-starter. Be a go getter. Do not wait for a job advertisement and then apply for it. Rather, go out there and look for the position, you never know and it cannot be worse than a “no”. Volunteer at an organization and include the experience in your application documents. It is small things like these that make you stand out in this crowded mass of sameness.
*This point does not in any way, form or shape advocate for nepotism.