“What now?” is a question many graduates ask themselves soon after graduating especially those who had not earlier sat down and thought out their future and planned for life after graduation. Here are a few things you should remember right after graduating.
- Living in the City isn’t Everything
A lot of people think that working in the city is the best or the only option if you want to live a good life. Some people leave their perfect lives in the village to move to Nairobi or Mombasa and start struggling to make ends meet. If you really want to move to the city after graduating, make sure you have a plan of action that you are certain will work because life out here isn’t as rosy as people make it seem. Even people who live in rural areas are successful even if they are less known – fame does not equal success. You don’t have to eat one meal a day in a bedsitter you can’t afford in Nairobi just to tell people in the village you’re in Nairobi when you’re guaranteed three or more meals per day, a comfortable bed in your parents’ home and a job back in the village. If you know you won’t be able to handle these rough Nairobi streets, just stay in the rural areas where you are comfortable.
- Don’t Compete With Classmates
Don’t allow yourself to feel pressure from classmates. Some people may already have secured employment from internships they did while still in university and some may be given hefty allowances by their parents unlike you so don’t feel like you have to be doing as well as them in as little time as them; go at your own pace and know that everyone’s life path is different.
You shouldn’t walk into an interview for your first job and demand high pay just because a classmate who already has experience (while you don’t) told you that that’s how much they earn. Don’t try to live a lifestyle you see on social media as that’s people just “flexin’ for the ‘gram”. Don’t be in a hurry to get experience or promotions, take your time.
- Be Easy to Reach
You cannot send an application via email today and the deadline was in two days and you don’t check your email until the week after, you will miss a possible interview. Also know that unknown numbers will be calling you a lot so in the time you are job hunting, don’t be one of those ‘I don’t answer calls from unknown numbers’ type of people otherwise countless opportunities will be slipping through your fingers. Don’t keep your phone on silent all day especially when you’re expecting calls, keep your phone close and make sure you have enough airtime to make calls when necessary.
- Live Within Your Means
As I mentioned above, don’t try to live like the people you follow on social media. There’s nothing wrong with not grabbing breakfast at artcaffe every day and wearing second hand clothes. Live a life you can afford to live, don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re broke or poor even though technically, you may be. Cut such people out of your life or tell them to stop putting pressure on you. You don’t need to move out of your parents’ immediately (if you haven’t already) and they shouldn’t force you too, just live life your own way.
- Consider Volunteering and Internship
This is a great opportunity to learn new skills and get more industry knowledge as you have a lot of free time on your hands. This is also a chance to meet new people and gain a lot of experience which will look great on your CV. Don’t be in a rush to make money as important as it is. Don’t let income be your only priority but let it be one of your main priorities. There’s a lot of little tips you can learn during this time from where you are interning and you may even meet someone who’ll offer you employment. In this time, you can also do small weekend jobs or part-time assignments if you really need a little money to keep you going.
- Make sure your Resume and Cover Letter is impressive
There are many websites you can go to to see how a CV is written and to find out what on earth a cover letter is. It’s not as difficult as some people make it seem. Also make sure you check out professional’s tips to ensure that no employers turn you down.
Avoid sending your CV to every firm and every employer even when they are not searching for any new employers. This is annoying and they’ll talk about you and tell each other not to employ you.
- Build Your Network
Any already employed person in any industry will tell you that the most important thing is to have connections. Without this, you may never find a job in Kenya. As sad and unfair as this is, this is the reality in our country. Use this free time to talk to friends, family, attend events and socialize to get people’s numbers. Even if the person you are speaking to is in a different sector, speak to them and get some numbers from them because there may be an opening for you in the future.
- Take your Time and Never Give Up
This point has to be reiterated. It’s important for you not to rush into anything. Remember, even those who are at the top had to start from the bottom. Continuing with your education is not bad either so don’t feel like you have to get a job just because that’s what everyone else in your class is doing; their goals are not the same as yours. Make sure you enjoy this free time that you have as much as possible too because once you start working, you may not have as much or any at all.
You will possibly send your CV to tens of firms and customize your cover letter for tens of companies but just because you don’t get any responses now doesn’t mean you never will. If you speak to employed people some will tell you it took them years to get their first job. There’s a lot of competition out there with thousands of graduates entering the job market along with you so try to apply for jobs that you didn’t necessarily study for. Don’t lose hope just keep pushing on.