Getting admitted to campus has a way of giving a false sense of security, by painting a picture of how things will be and not how they really are. The admission letter creates hope of a prospectus career path, it’s almost as if it reads “ Dear Amina, stay the course and the rewards will be immediate.” What it doesn’t say, however, is that four years of degree learning does not automatically translate to employability.
A lesson we all get to learn later after dropping our not so well written cv’s to the HR department of a certain company X is that a not so well written CV is not usually the number one problem, the number one problem is that we don’t even take time to see if we meet the criteria before bothering Rose from HR with another call-back request.
One could argue that even if we read the criteria we will not make the cut because the first sentence under eligibility reads “ 5 or more years of experience.” An expectation that may seem impossible to meet, because why would a certain company X hire a fresh graduate to spend time translating theory into practice when they could keep rotating an established pool of employees.
In the spirit of not starting a blame game here are Common mistakes we have all made:
1. Eligibility criteria
Dear Nancy, not all companies require 5 years of experience some require 0-3 years of
experience, the 3 years could be made up of your volunteering experience. The tension
between me and re-starting the sentence with a “ Did you know?” anyway, just read the criteria for the sake of Rose from HR.
2. The Title of your degree does not necessarily translate to your job-title
“Hello my name is Amina a political science graduate and no, I am not a politician.” Somebody should open a WhatsApp support group for graduates already. The truth of the matter is, that focussing on soft skills attained as a result of your degree will be more beneficial in your job hunting. A political science student for example could work in an environment in need of lobbying, advocacy, data analysis, and negotiating skills.
3. Your network is really your net worth-It’s not a bluff!
Building on your social capital and learning how to present yourself in social networking forums or social media platforms will set you up for opportunities. Think about it in the same way as the elevator pitch technique, are you able to talk about what you bring to the table in 5min?
4. Being stuck up on employment as the end result
We need to change the narrative that universities are supposed to create employable
candidates. What universities need to do, is impart knowledge in a way that makes graduates potential employees. The population growth we are currently experiencing is not in tandem with our economic growth and we need to find solutions to our existing development challenges. He who findeth a solution to a problem qualifies as an entrepreneur.
5. Always lip service and never the actual work
Trusted adults in the room and politicians who are responsible for policy changes, we are tired of hearing stories of inclusivity and never seeing the action. Every day, organizations and company profiles read “youth and women” and do not have the youth or women taking lead in the conversations. For how long shall this go on?