The Millennials' Dilemma : I can’t get a job because I do not have experience! I have no experience because I can’t find a job!

It is the cry of many students and new graduates: I need and want to work, but I can’t because I have no experience! I have no experience because I can’t find a job! While this situation is not uncommon, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating if you’re in the middle of it. Instead of taking the situation lying down, though, you can take action to boost your credentials and get the experience needed even before you finish your studies.

7 Tips to Gain Experience as a Student:

1.     Complete an Internship   

Companies, government offices, and non-profit organisations typically offer internships that will provide job training, professional networking opportunities, and exposure to a particular job and industry in exchange for cheap or free work on the part of the intern. Many internships are advertised on organisation websites, sites that are dedicated just to internships, and you may even be able to post your own ad to find an internship. If there is a particular department or organisation you want to learn more about, consider writing a proposal for the creation of an internship just for you. Outline ways you can help the organisation and why you're interested in working there.

2.     Look for Co-op Experiences

Co-op, short for Cooperative Education, is a bit different than internships. You typically work with a company or organisation for pay for a period of time and then alternate your time between work and classes. You may go to class for a semester and then work for a semester, for example. These types of programs are often partnerships between colleges and organisations that want to hire students who are interested in a particular industry.

3.     Volunteer for Experience

Non-profit organisations, schools, government offices, and much more types of organisations want volunteers. Volunteers do everything from unskilled work to highly technical work. You might do everything from helping a teacher at a school by reading with students to assisting a non-profit with legal issues as a member of a volunteer legal committee if you have the right educational credentials. Regardless of what kind of volunteer work you do, you will learn important job skills that you can put on your resume. Volunteering demonstrates that you are a person with drive who takes the initiative to gain the employment skills you need and that you're someone passionate about a particular line of work.

4.     Find Temporary Work

If you can't find a permanent job, consider looking for temporary work. Many job applications have an option for you work on a temporary, part-time or full-time basis. For instance, you can contact an agency that hires individuals on a temporary basis in the industry in which you want to work. Check job boards for temporary work, too. Working short periods of time with different employers means that you can pay your bills while building your experience and gaining exposure to that particular company. Additionally, you can develop job-specific skills and contacts in a number of organisations that can lead to a more permanent position.

5.     Become Active on Social Media

Facebook featured a survey showing that 2.5 million Kenyans spend more than six and half hours per day on its site. Why not join groups dedicated to professional growth on Facebook and develop a network of contacts who can help you with getting an internship, temporary job, or perhaps a volunteer position? Also, spend time on LinkedIn to develop your professional network. Join groups dedicated to your intended line of work to further develop your network. Read all you can about your industry, and engage in meaningful interaction with members of your professional groups.

6.     Consider Freelancing

Join a freelancing site to share your talents digitally. People do everything from tutoring people in rare and popular languages to doing voice-overs online. You can develop your skills by starting your own business. You’ll likely make mistakes along the way, but you will learn from them, just as you would in a traditional job. If you decide you want to turn your side-gig into a full-time job, you can avoid the typical 9-5. On the other hand, you can also take the experience you gained and show an employer that you are an enterprising individual who is determined to gain the experience needed to do a job well.

7.     Take Advantage of Extracurricular Activities

Think of all your after-school activities. Were you a member of a sports team or a school committee? What kinds of skills did you develop? Were you a leader in a student organisation? Did you supervise a team of students doing some kind of work? You developed job skills in your extracurricular activities, and you gained some experience. Put that time after school to work by putting it on your resume.

8.     Network

Finally, contact your professors and youth club leaders, leaders in your place of worship, friends of your parents, former teachers, and other people who are familiar with your ability to work hard and with your desire to learn. These people can attest to your willingness to master new challenges and to do well in a job.

 

 

 

Is the next president your path to success? Think again

As we fast approach the elections on the 8th of August, 2017, the high unemployment problem facing the millennials or the youth in Kenya is top of many aspirants’ manifestos. Important to note, the high unemployment rate in Kenya has been so for the last 20 years. Many observers say it looms as a crisis for the nation given the rise in population of over 1 million births each year.

It is certain that the Government we elect into power come August 8th will shape the labour market, and thus can either speed up closing this gap or worsen the situation. However, research shows that despite previous Government promises and numerous policy interventions, the Kenyan economy is still not expanding fast enough to absorb all the young millennials entering the job market. What that means is that unemployment, to some degree, will persist for the foreseeable future.

For many of us born in the 80’s, we grew up seeing the Government blamed for every undoing in the society. If a man battered his wife, the Government would be blamed for the stressed man unemployment situation. The Government is often criticised all around and hardly do we hear people commend a Government for progress or opportunities created. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there is a lot that the Government can do to improve the job market in Kenya. However, I also believe that the change can only begin from within. The power to transform our situation will begin from the decision to take responsibility for the outcome of our lives.

Take another example of the poor drainage in the cities which often block when there is rain. Truth is, the county Government has its part to play enforcing the law against individuals that litter, however, the responsibility lies with individuals who make a decision to either litter or use the proper channels of disposal.

Understand that even with the greatest President nothing much will change in your life if you do not do put in progressive change within your small circle. What I mean is President X will not knock on your door and give you a job offer, he will not call you randomly for an employment opportunity in company X. That is your job! As for him, he applied for a job as the President of Kenya, and he got the job. He is doing the best he can with the knowledge and wisdom he has, to lead the country the best way he knows how to, and on top of that, he is providing for his family and that is where it ends.

For argument's sake, what if he actually knocked on your door, and gave you a job offer, will your developed skills be a good fit for the job? Will your people skills outshine the other candidates? Will your preparedness for the job market make you the most suitable candidate? And why do you believe you are the best?

Here is the lesson, Governments come and go and so does time. Shift focus from without (politicians, parents, friends, rich uncles/aunts) to within. Focus on unleashing the potential within you by deliberate massive action. Work out your success by thinking through on the following:-

  • Where am I?  (Current state of your life)
  • How did I get here? (what habits, decisions have led me here)
  • What is my plan to turn around the situation (Take up study, seek mentors, adopt a disciplined lifestyle)
  • How will I stay the Course? (Write down my own manifesto, get like-minded friends, remain positive in thought and speech)

During the different Government eras in Kenya, we all know that one person who had it worse and they came out shining, we also know that one person who had it all together but lost it all. The heights in your life that you want to achieve are possible, look within and decide to be more.

As J.F. Kennedy challenged his country’s people, I too throw the same challenge to you today: ‘‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’’

Staying The Course

Building the career of your dreams and achieving your personal goals is rarely a smooth sailing. In the pursuit of our careers, there is always so much noise around us. And the confusing part is that usually, these noises are from parents and peers who genuinely care about us and mean well: Parents may want to direct you to a career path that they believe is lucrative, safe or comfortable. You may feel the need to play safe or to fit into a group, and hence you do what your peers seem to be doing. If you are not able to decipher these noises and concentrate on what is important, chances are, you will be confused, you will feel empty, and most likely not attain your goals.

We cannot talk about careers without emphasising the need to stay the course in all that you pursue in life.

Staying the course is about taking charge of our lives by showing up. Really showing up and being consistent with our plans. The reason why most people never achieve their dreams is because they simply give up.

They give up because they lose passion; passion is lost when progress is not made. When we stop making progress on that idea, that business, that initiative, that book, then focus leaves since we have no excitement anymore. Here are a few pointers on how to stay the course towards achieving our goals:-

Define the mission

Get crystal clear on what that goal is. How does it look like, who will help you achieve it, which steps will get you there, how much sacrifice does it require. Write it up and articulate it so clearly that is almost becomes synonymous with who you are per time. Every so often refer to it, as if to remind yourself why you are committed to the seemingly mundane daily activities that will add up to your goal.

The process of identifying your main goals in life is a process of deep reflection and continuous churning what resonates deeply with your inner person. These are the things which will matter most to you in your sunset years and will have impacted the world in a positive way (big or small).

Eliminate distraction

This one is big especially in a world of RSS feeds and instant messaging. On average 35 Billion, WhatsApp messages are sent every day, seriously, your brain gets stimulated numerously by funny jokes, beautiful people on IG and that urge to just respond immediately.

According to research done at Carnegie Mellon University, it takes the brain takes up to 25 minutes just to regain focus after distraction. Eliminate distraction by scheduling your time and sticking to a schedule. Become a stickler for scheduling, slot time for social media, for research, for relationships, for personal development. Once you have allocated your time in line with you highest priorities learn to say NO to activities which are impromptu and non-value adding.

Sometimes distraction comes by way of comparing ourselves to others. Each of us is wired uniquely and has our personal journeys to make. Quite making comparisons with other and only compare yourself to the best version of you yet.

 Understand who you are, where you are going and stick to your lane

Get your fuel/Like-minded People, mentors, books, blogs

To remain the course there is need to continuously fuel your belief system in-line with who you are becoming. When we were born, your beliefs are fuelled by where you were born, your parents, people you looked up to, religious circles, by your exposure. For the initial ages of our lives, we had little or no control over this. Sadly, for many adults what fuels their belief system shaping their paradigm is still unfiltered. The result is that many are operating on a defeatist predisposition by default.

To change this, be deliberate with what you are feeding your mind with, who is influencing you as a person? Get with the winners and avoid the whiners. You become like those you spend time with, either physically or through various media platforms. Be deliberate on the kind of information you consume knowing that is a building block to who you will be some years to come.

Learn to weather the storm

Difficult times and situations come to all people, but what determines our success in it all is our ability to get back up when we are not done. Muster all courage to keep going regardless of what life throws at us.  Think of those difficult times as intense training where the average is transformed to good and good is perfected to great. Stick it through and you will be glad you did when you see the person you are have become.  All dark nights have a morning dawn; it will get better, it always gets better, so stick it through.

 

 

Don’t be discouraged, it’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.

-Anonymous-

 

 

Who's The Star In Your Field?

 

If you are looking to excel at something, to improve, to be better or to become the best, you hang out with best. To make an analogy, and there is not a musical bone in my body if I wanted to be a rock star, who would I spend my time with and who would I listen to; a rock star and his or her circle of influence, right? Of course!

When I was growing up, I had a notebook full of my favourite musicians’ photos and lyrics, at that time Mariah Carey, 3T, Destiny’s Child were popular. I could get all these lyrics every Sunday from the Daily Nation Newspaper.  I had crammed all the lyrics of the songs I liked. If I had been tested on the lyrics of 3T, I wouldn’t have missed a single word. What if we did the same with our careers, I know it sounds boring. But if you are in high school, college/university, you’ve already heard people complaining how difficult it is to stand out from the large pool of job seekers in the career world and how opportunities to network with industry experts and professionals might not be easily accessible to all. So to prepare you for your career after education, you need to ask yourself, “Who is the star in you chosen field of work?”  I am not talking about your neighbour whom you claim is tech savvy, but he never leaves the house, just plays computer games all day. I am talking about real stars in the industry: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, President Obama or Trump in politics (depending on whom you admire), Julie Gichuru in Media and Journalism, Chris Kirubi in investment and businesses, amongst others.

I know what you are going to say, “How do you expect me to meet these people and hang out with them?”

The Use of Social Media

A survey conducted by Facebook showed that 2.5 million Kenyans below the age of 35 spend more than six and half hours per day on Facebook. That is a quarter of your day! And if you are not using it to develop yourself, then you should rethink your priorities. This goes for both job seekers and millennials who already have jobs but want to achieve more in their industry. You could join groups dedicated to professional growth on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and develop a network of contacts that might be willing to help you get an internship, temporary job, or perhaps a volunteer position. Also, spend time on LinkedIn to develop your professional network. Join groups dedicated to your intended line of work to further develop your network. Read all you can about your industry, and engage in meaningful interaction with members of your professional groups.

 

Social Media is a double-edged sword, and you decide which side of the sword to use! Tweet This

Being just a graduate is no longer enough, acquiring educational certificates is just the beginning, and if you are telling yourself that you want to be great in your field of work, you finish your Bachelors, maybe a Masters Degree then you think that’s enough for you to achieve your career goals, you might have to rethink again. Educational certificates are just enough for someone to lend you an ear, and if you have no substance in what you are about to say, you lose an opportunity that could have changed your life.

Through social media, you will also be aware of any upcoming events that might be of interest to you, company charity events, volunteer opportunities, you can get to network with people already working in the companies that you are interested in. Use social media to your advantage. Stalk the experts in your field (metaphorically) instead of stalking the so-called “socialites”, your crush or your ex.

Read, Read, and Read Widely

I completely understand that this might not be appealing to someone who has just finished their studies, but it is important to know that, great books will take months and years off of the learning curve that often keeps people from becoming the expert in their field.

 

The Person you will be in 5 years is based on the books you read and the people you surround yourself with today.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Invest in books written by industry experts, and if in your field of work, no experts have written a book yet, through following them on social media, you can find out what they like reading and read what they are reading. Find out what they feed their brain with and feed your brain with the same.

I understand, that a job seeker’s budget can be tight, and therefore if you can’t afford books, subscribe to the experts mailing list, read their blogs, any articles they publish online, magazines, business journals, be a sponge and absorb knowledge from the experts. For the ones who don’t like reading books, you can watch their documentaries, autobiographies or biographies.

And as you continue developing your career, strive to remain Curious,  Be Teachable, and accept that you will always be a continuous Work In Progress!

 

EmploymentSTUDIO is born

Time for Something New: Job Search Redefined

To say we are honoured and excited is an understatement.
This has been a dream close to my heart for quite a while. The list of what motivated me to do this is endless, however, key observations going on in our society are:

It’s painful to watch skilled, talented, educated millennials go without work just because they do not have connections or do not fully understand the dynamics of the job market both locally and abroad.
Sad to watch many settle for jobs that are just a means to an end because they need to pay rent and eat.
Sad to watch some think that others are lucky, but not them.
Sad to watch parents take loans for their sons/daughters to go to universities, only for them to stay at home after graduation or settle for some basic need job.

I have been on the interview panels, and I have watched painfully as capable and over qualified job-seekers do not get the job they deserve because they lack communication skills to articulate precisely what they are good at and what they can offer to the employer.

It does not matter if you went to some technical college somewhere in ‘bundus’ or have been jumping from one job to another and still didn’t get that ideal job yet. We are here to work with everyone. We will work with you step by step and we will get you noticed. We will highlight your strengths and show you how you can use your weaknesses to your advantage.

We Say What We Mean And We Mean What We Say.
 We will fight to ensure that no millennial willing to work shall go without work.

And by the way, we are not for everyone. If you are ready to work and ready to get that job and improve your life, we will walk with you all through the way. But if you are not ready to work or you are looking for a magic pill, we can only wish you well.

For parents of this generation, it is important to start shaping the careers of your sons/daughters early while they are still students, so that they don’t end up with this common millennial dilemma of “I cannot find work because I lack experience, and I lack experience because I cannot find work”.

Let’s take back our power and do what is necessary to achieve the careers we have always dreamt of and consequently improve the quality of our lives.

We believe that even though there is: stiff competition in the job market, increase in job insecurities, and a lot of uncertainty going on, there has never been a time where you can achieve so much due to technological advancement, reduced barriers to trade, access to online education, as well as vast scholarships opportunities being offered by international bodies interested in talented millennials.

We will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts:
Quality Education and Employment Opportunities for Kenyan Millennials.

 

*Bundus* - somewhere deep down in the village