Graduation is a blissful time. The sense of achievement and completion after years of hard work is satisfying, to say the least. But graduating also means entering the workforce. While some are lucky enough to get positions straight out of university, it can be a long journey ahead for others. If you are in the process of job-hunting in Kenya then here are 7 experiences you can probably relate to.
1. Never being able to get past high school grades
It doesn’t matter whether you graduated last year or 30 years ago, your high school transcript will haunt you forever. It makes you shudder to think what HR managers think when they see that D on your CV. You wonder if you should just leave it off but even omitting the grade seems to be some admission that you don’t want recruiters to know about it. You try to make up for grades with experience but still have to live with the fact that sometimes that D will send your application to the bin.
2. Never having enough qualifications for what you want to do
These days, even some internships require a Master’s or PhD for recruitment. There is always room to assume that getting the next qualification will open up a world of opportunities. You wonder if you should get a PhD but remember the news feature you saw of someone with a PhD who ended up selling smokies by the roadside. There is nothing wrong with selling smokies but you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands in grad school to do it.
3. Always looking for short courses to do to improve your employability
You’ve been telling yourself that you’ll learn to code as a way of getting ahead of the competition. Or maybe you’ll learn Japanese. You have convinced yourself that learning such a skill will be the difference between getting a position and not.
4. Encountering fake jobs
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. You’re always watching out for a higher salary than the market value, a too-quick response and scattered details in correspondences. You’re already jobless and would hate to end up jobless and scammed out of money.
5. Only doing unpaid internships, unpaid internships…and more unpaid internships
The plus side is that you are employed. The downside is that you are employed and simultaneously incurring debts from transport and other expenses that are unavoidable if you are to keep the job. The worst part? There is often no opportunity to be offered an actual paid position once you finish the internship. But it’s alright if it’s unsustainable as long as you’re doing it for the experience. Right?
6. Getting tired of hearing that it will get better
While onlookers may mean well, it can be exhausting to constantly hear that you’ll make it when it doesn’t feel that way. Maybe one day you’ll look back on your post-graduation job search as a far removed event of the past. Or maybe you’ll be existing solely on smokies and telling passers-by about how you actually studied chemical engineering at university. Empty platitudes are ineffective at removing the latter image from your imagination.
7. Wishing you had connections
It is only a matter of time before you realise that people who are able to secure employment have sometimes done so through who they know. This is no secret. It does not mean that these people are not qualified. But it can sometimes feel like you might as well make soup out of your degree and drink it if you don’t know someone who can connect you to a job opportunity. Even knowing the dog of the cousin of the hairdresser of the HR Manager in a company would give you a leg up.