Career Climb: How millennials can job search and advance their careers in today’s world

Job searching for Millennials is becoming more and more difficult these days. The lack of jobs combined with the notion of getting rich fast as a result of the fake lives many are leading on social media is only frustrating Millennials.

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However, all is not lost as there are a few tips to follow in order for a millennial to get a chance at a career that he or she loves.

Lorna Kanyunga is a manager for Jijali, a training program that seeks to equip young people with the necessary skills for the job market. She offers tips young people can apply in their career.

The Sauce: Which skill sets would you recommend for the job market?
Lorna: Some of the skills include proactive mindset, a strong sense of self-awareness, ability to work with other people, written and spoken communication skills, the ability to lead yourself and motivate yourself, and job search skills.

The Sauce: Let us talk about job searching. How can people go about it?
Lorna: First of all, job searching is challenging. It needs to be consistent. Considering the competition we have in the job market, you need to apply for about ten jobs every week. Write a good cover letter, get a good CV template, apply for jobs that you meet requirements listed, and apply for jobs that meet your skills and interests.

The Sauce: What is the best method of picking referees?
Lorna: You need to approach the people you wish to have as referees and ask them if they are comfortable. They should know you well enough to talk about your skills. You could even select someone who is on a lower-ranking level but knows you well than a CEO who knows little about you. Once the referees have agreed, inform them when you start your job search for them to be prepared.

The Sauce: How can young people grow in their career?
Lorna: You can build a strong sense of self-awareness. It helps to have a habit of asking for feedback from your supervisor. When asking for feedback, be specific. You could ask what your supervisor thinks about how well you did a project, what you can improve on in a particular area, and so on. You can self-reflect, improve on emotional intelligence, try out new things such as leading your team, and get a mentor.

The Sauce: On mentors, what advice would you give on picking them?
Lorna: I need to clarify that you can have several mentors and mentors do not need to be there long term. You can have a mentor who only helps you during one step of your career. Speak to someone in your company who is in a position you hope to hold someday or someone who has qualities that you admire. Do not pick someone only because you admire them. Look at what your gaps are and have someone who can help you fill that gap. Attend networking events and ask people that you would like to meet them soon regarding your career. Directly asking someone to be a mentor can be scary for them.

The Sauce: What is your opinion on how young people view work?
Lorna: We hear that millennials are entitled and lazy. I can see where this is coming from but I also understand why this is the case. If we look at our education system, it has made us believe that if we get a degree then we can quickly get a job. The education system does not encourage people to be proactive enough to go out of their way. We need to stop judging young people. We can help them unlearn such mindset and relearn the mindset of having realistic expectations and proactivity.

The Sauce: What is your take on young people and entrepreneurship?
Lorna: The best time to start your entrepreneurial journey is when you are in university since you have a lot of time to build on your skills and you are safe to make mistakes. I encourage those in university to pursue entrepreneurship. Sometimes, young people start businesses when they cannot find a job. I feel that you need to see an opportunity for you to start a business, use your skills and take up a business idea that you are excited and passionate about. This will push you through difficult times.

The Sauce: Tell us about the Jijali program.
Lorna: It is a program under Yusudi. Yusudi is a social enterprise that provides graduates with skills to start their own businesses and to have successful careers. We realized that there was a skills gap when looking at what graduates could do and what employers were looking for. We make education more practical, enjoyable and beneficial. Jijali is an online and part time training program that starts from September to November. It will be free this time since we got a grant from the Blue Haven initiative. So far we have trained 400 young people and we are looking forward to training 1000 from September. People can go to www.yusudi.co/jijali to apply. We will select those who can join the program.

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