The job market has greatly evolved over the years. New skills and new roles keep coming up while others are rendered obsolete. It is up to a smart candidate to do an evaluation and know what is required.
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I remember the time I left University with a number of my friends. We were so hopeful and excited that our lives had just started. Many graduates leave university with fresh knowledge and aspiring to get their first dream jobs in the fields they like.
When a person graduates from the college they are always excited to have crossed that huge milestone and they are motivated to kick start their career. However, many get frustrated and disappointed when their expectations seem to be mere far-flung dreams.
The reality is that the job market has greatly evolved over the years. New skills and new roles keep coming up while others are rendered obsolete. It is up to a smart candidate to do an evaluation and know what is required.
There are couple of things you should know:
1. It is now more skill based than university course based - These days recruiters are more interested in what you can do more than what you studied at the university. For example as a writer who studied journalism, recruiters always want to see my writing samples and know how fast I can write. They also want to see how I can adapt to different audiences. Hone your skills and talents then leverage on them to get your next opportunity.
2. Companies are different - Every company is different in terms of culture, owners, market, niche and very many other aspects. As you apply for jobs you need to treat every application differently. Study the company and tailor your CV plus cover letter to suit the specific needs of the company.
3. Be ready to do something that you did not study for - There are very many people these days who are pursuing careers that they never studied for. Centum Investment Company CEO, James Mworia, studied law at the University of Nairobi yet he is thriving in business. He has successfully led Centum for more than 10 years, realizing a progressive growth in their stock price.
4. Studying and learning never ends - You will never study enough. Since the job market is rapidly changing, you need to keep updating yourself with online courses to keep your skills sharp or even ahead of time. Take advantage of the many free courses online like Hubspot Academy and Google Digital courses. Even go further and study fields that you are interested in to keep an impressive skill and knowledge portfolio.
5. Networking is crucial - Don’t stay in your corner and fail to interact with people. Your next opportunity may be with the person seated next to you. Ensure that you attend different corporate events and make friends. So many people have landed high profile clients by only saying hi and introducing themselves and listening to what the other person does. Business mogul Julian Kyula said that he landed his first high paying role in America by speaking to the CEO of the company in an elevator.
6. Be ready to unlearn a lot of what you studied in school - You gained a lot of skillful knowledge in the university but you need to be open-minded. The nature of work is very different these days and many universities have not yet caught up. That is why there is a huge skills gap. This gap is one of the major contributors to youth unemployment. Open your mind to different world views and also roles that you would never have imagined pursuing.
7. Don’t be tired of internships - Internships help a lot and boost your CV. Recruiters will hardly pay attention to your CV if you have a lot of gaps where you stayed idle. Be open to internships even if the pay is little. You gain knowledge about your field and if you do a good job, you might be retained or get a very good reference. James Mworia started out at Centum as an intern before rising through the ranks to the helm of the company.
There are different kinds of jobs for you to grab. Get out of your comfort zone. Embrace an open-minded attitude and be ready to learn and do anything you can because it can be very useful. Always ensure that your CV is well updated, chic and straightforward. Opportunity is right there with you.