Your now done with school, what next? A job! With the extremely high unemployment rate (40%) in Kenya, you may be discouraged by the lack of opportunities for you to find work.

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Here are some tips to consider when looking for one:

  1. Be in Control of Your Career and Goals

Know what you want in life and don’t let anyone sway or influence you. Don’t allow your parents to pick an occupation for you unless you want to end up miserable. Also do not be persuaded by your friends to do what they want to do, you don’t have to follow them like a sheep.

2. Your First Job Isn’t Your Last or Career Defining

Some people believe that their first job sets the pace for the rest of their career. The job market changes frequently therefore the more skills you acquire in your field, the better. Starting out as a waitress as a means of making extra pocket money doesn’t mean that that’s all you’ll ever be. A majority of CEOs and managers started out as juniors. As long as you aim high and never give up on your aspirations.

3. Focus All Your Energy on One Career

Elizabeth Marami is Kenya’s first female marine pilot.

One thing that employers do not like seeing is someone who is unsure about what they want to do career wise so it is important that you make it clear if being an architect is definitely what you want to be make it clear that that is the only thing you are passionate about and that there is nothing else you’d rather do.

Also ensure that you are good at what you choose to do for the rest of your life. If you know you are passionate about let’s say cooking, it’s better to work towards becoming a chef rather than focusing on something you are not good at that pays better or will get you the fame you’re searching for.

4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can help you find job opportunities as well as tips & advice from professionals. There are hashtags, accounts and pages that can lead you to find what you’re looking for in terms of advice and work.

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It is also vital to ensure that your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts are all presentable and do not contain any posts or pictures that could make a potential employer decide not to employ you. According to research, 40% of employers screen prospective employees’ social media accounts.

5. What Are You Trying to Achieve?

It is essential to consider what you are trying to accomplish in life but not only in terms of career. What career do you want to pursue? How much do you want to be earning? What position do you want to be in? What company do you ultimately want to work for? Where do you want to be living? What type of lifestyle do you want? These are all things that you need to keep in mind as you continue to expand your profession.

6. Master’s Degrees and PhDs are Not THAT Important

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Despite what it may seem like, Masters and PhDs are not keys to having a more successful career than just a diploma, certificate or a Bachelors’ Degree. Unless you’re thinking of becoming a teacher/lecturer, having a Master’s Degree isn’t all that necessary.

A Master’s would only make you more desirable for employment if it adds to your already acquired skills and work experience. Having industry knowledge and applicable experience is more important than collecting degrees. It’s advisable to opt for internships rather than investing in a Master’s.

7. Never Lose Hope

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 It’s important to just push on and keep trying harder to find a job you never know when you’ll finally find the light at the end of the tunnel. Finding a job for some may take a week and for others it may take six months. Everyone’s life path is different so don’t feel pressure from friends and family if your story doesn’t turn out the same as theirs. Taking risks is fine as it can teach you a lot about the ups and downs of your career. Also don’t be afraid to apply for a job you’re only partially qualified for.

All the best in your job search!