In today’s post, I’d like to discuss a few tips for Unemployed Fresh Grads, and there are four reasons I am bringing this up, and they are:
- It was a request from one of my most dedicated readers, Wagner, and I promised I would write my opinion on the topic.
- I have had a very good friend of mine who was left unemployed for close to 3 years even though she had 2 years of experience already, and I witnessed first hand how she was devastated by it, and discouraged, even depressed
- During this last weekend, coincidentally, I was advising my younger brother who just finished his engineering course and a cousin who finished a Geology recently.
- I am really passionate about helping people believe in themselves, grow, and reach their potential, and for that, everyone needs a chance, and if there isn’t one, then we need to create that opportunity ourselves.
Unemployment is a big concern all over the world, some countries have managed to keep it to a low 0.41%, while others to a lowest of more than 25%. It is a critical issue that causes inflation, reduced economic growth, fosters frustration, depression, anxiety, increases criminal activity levels, and so many others that we could list here.
I found this data in Trading Economics website, there you can check each country’s situation, I was specifically looking for Mozambique, but I believe that struggling with getting your first job or getting back to the job market after being laid off, or resigning from a position is quite similar everywhere.
Benefits of Not Finding a Job right After Graduation
Looking at it from another angle, like many things in life, being unemployed can also have some good effects, such as allowing you to have more time with the family, time to really evaluate what you want out of life, no need to commute every day to work (let’s agree that facing traffic can be stressing).
8 Tips for Unemployed Fresh Grads
Before I delve into the 8 Tips, let me just share that the education system needs some revamping, it needs a serious upgrade, from the version that used to work just fine in the past.
The reason I say this is because, our generation grew up listening from our fathers that if we went to school, study hard and get a degree, we would get a bright future. Despite their good intentions, it did and it is not working out that way for everyone.
Studying and learning critical skills will always be important, but we need to re-evaluate what are these skills, we need to go back to the companies that hold the jobs and money to pay us to ask what is it that they need today, and what skills will they need 10-15 years from now. This is what the education system should be focusing on.
Added to all that, it’s become much more of a fact nowadays that getting a degree, and get a job in some company is not the only path, nor the best patch for certain type of individuals. There are those that will better serve the community by using their ingenuity as an entrepreneur.
But before I delve into the main topic, let me offer you the chance to grab our free eBook on ways in which you can improve your ability to influence others with your speech or oral presentation, these are tips that I used and still use to get desired results (just think of interviews, oral defense presentations, selling a product or service to customers, and so on).
Let me now go down to the 8 tips, the ones I shared with my loved ones, and friends, the ones I want to share with you reading this, and I hope it can serve as an inspiration for yourself or those who you know that are currently unemployed, and looking for a direction.
1. Do your best to get Internships or Part-time Jobs while you’re In College
The first tip has to do with those who have yet to graduate, and still have some time in their hands. Do your best to look for companies willing to give you the chance to work as a Part-timer, while you are at college.
Companies love having people to work for them, resolve their issues and paying you a basic salary or, perhaps not pay anything at all. After all, they are in the business of making money (increasing profits and reducing costs).
Students are enthusiastic, eager to learn, they listen attentively and do can help with a lot of easy work that no one really wants to do themselves (just picture organizing papers, bringing coffee, taking notes during meetings, writing and delivering reports).
While that sounds like not the amazing job you are dreaming of doing, depending on your majors, like technical work, designing, planning, attending patients by yourself, having your own secretary, your own office, or boss people around…you have a unique opportunity of learning first hand what kind of job you would like to apply for in the future, by seeing what people do, how they do it, their interactions and level of expertise required to complete their work.
I did a 3-months internship, on my 3rd year of bachelors of engineering, and it was in the IT department of an airline company. At that point, as an IT & Telecoms Engineering student, I was dreaming of going there and start coding, building networks, managing their networks and databases.
Well, it was nothing like that. I left the internship decided to become a Telecoms expert instead of an IT expert, and never took a position of IT after that.
The reason was, I had too many expectations and dreams, and they were nothing like what I expected, at least not in that company. I am saying this because I know how hard it is to manage expectations, so take the chance to do some part-time work, learn about yourself, what you’d love to do, this way after college you know exactly what job to look for.
2. Don’t Rush it, but Be Always ready to take the Opportunities
If you are a final year student, you must be seeing your friends and colleagues landing interviews, and getting jobs even before finishing the course. This makes you feel both happy and jealous after all they are your colleagues who have gone through all these years of studying with you.
You don’t need to rush and accept any offer that comes your way, but at the same time do not be so picky that you end up losing valuable opportunities.
Note that your first job is not supposed to be your last job. It’s your opportunity to learn about the industry, about yourself, and what being in the work environment really looks like.
Try to strike a balance between getting the right offers, to make sure you don’t end up complaining all the time, and the expectations and dreams that might hold you back.
You will not know for sure what you want to do with your life, work, and career if you don’t allow yourself to try things out.
3. Everyone Has Their Own Clock
Remember those colleagues and friends who got seemingly amazing offers even before graduating, or right after, well you don’t know the full story. It’s possible that they got an incredible job offer, good salary, and benefits package, and are living the life they always dreamt of, but in the same way (and most often) they could be hating waking up every day.
As Denzel Washington beautifully said “Never confuse movement with progress. Because you can run in place and not get anywhere. Peace.”
Leave your jealousy aside and think things through, how many people became successful later in life? Or, found their true passion while in between jobs. Lots of them!
In romance, they say ‘you will never forget your first love’, well when it comes to working your third job could be your dream job, so take your time to find your true passion. You might realize that working for someone isn’t for you, and become an entrepreneur.
4. Volunteer & Be Willing to Give Value First
If you are trying to enter the job market, not getting invited for interviews or going to interviews but not receiving any offers, then volunteering to support an NGO or UN, EU organizations might be a good choice.
I know we have been educated to go to school, and be ‘rewarded’ with a job and great life, free of financial challenges, and that is a shame, but we cannot let that blind us from many other alternatives out there.
Non-profit organizations also hire people, but they normally hire highly skilled individuals to complete critical projects, like experienced doctors, experienced nutritionists, MBA, MPA, and many others. So, the best chance you have as a fresh graduate is to volunteer to help them with some of the less-specialized jobs, this way you give value to the community.
The question you might have is, why would I do that? Well, think of it like this…you gain some actual experience, you are helping actual people’s problems, and if you are great and eager to help other people notice that and talk about you, which is a good future reference in your CV.
These organizations value volunteer work, so much so that it becomes easier for you to apply for a permanent position, or contract, within the same organization you volunteered or others in the same field of activity.
5. Network, and Keep Networking (LinkedIn is your Friend)
Needless to say, you must build your presence online, and LinkedIn is a must in this regard. You can let recruiters know that you are out there, you have the credentials, you are eager to help them solve their problems, and you are constantly active volunteering, networking, and learning.
Keep close contact with your upperclassmen, your colleagues, professors, and faculty members. They could be the link you need to get the opportunity you have been waiting for.
Now, let me make this clear Networking is NOT contacting everyone in your network and repetitively Ask for a Job. It’s not comfortable for someone who barely knows you to keep receiving such messages, try linking with them first instead.
Networking is about being willing to provide value, learn, share, show that you are there for them, and do so without explicit demands in return. People take notice of such things, and they feel like helping you.
6. Make Good Use of Your skills/hobbies
We all love to do something, and if applied right we can find ways to monetize our passions. Let’s say you are great at making graphic designs, or video editing, or writing, or you know more than one language and can help people with translation, interpretation, or transcription, and the list goes on.
You can use these skills, or while waiting for your job opportunity, polish some sought-after skills, and become a freelancer who provides services on sites like Fiverr for example. Where you list out a number of tasks you can do, and someone comes and buys that service from you.
You could become a blogger, a vlogger, a YouTuber, or even an affiliate marketer and monetize your social media presence by sharing what you love. Please note that this is not as easy as it might sound, it takes planning, dedication and a lot of learning and improving yourself, but it works and there are lots of examples out there.
I told my brother, that he could make a Youtube channel about basketball, there are lots of fans of basketball out there, he loves it, and he can grow the channel, share some ads on it, and make some money out of it.
7. Practice & Improve your Communication Skills
I could share a lot more on this topic, but one thing I want to emphasize, and I also have a specific article discussing it is how critical developing your communication skills will be in order to facilitate you getting that first job, or client to purchase your services.
Speaking in front of others is challenging for most people, you become anxious, eat your words, and fail to showcase how awesome you are just because your communication skills are poor, and you can’t manage your emotions as well as other experienced candidates who might have gotten the position/business instead of you.
I have benefited right in my first interview from having above-average communication skills. I was comfortable talking to others, being experienced in delivering speeches to large audiences, and didn’t look desperate or unprepared for the interview.
There were five of us, from the same college, same class, same year, being interviewed for the same positions, and I still managed to get much higher offer, due to being able to comfortably speak both in Portuguese and English (learned watching movies), by showcasing some level of negotiation skills, which I picked up working with my uncle in his shop as a teenager.
In summary, learning a new language, delivering speeches, proofreading and helping with translation, interpretation, negotiation or bargaining skills were some of the things I have been doing since my teen days, and they helped and continue to help me until this very day. Never take for granted all the learning opportunities you get.
8. Do Not Let Despair Win over You
The last tip has to do with something that I have noticed from my colleagues from college, during their first interviews, and even friends who are seasoned professionals but want to change jobs or go back to the job market after a long pause.
Because we feel like we are ‘being left behind’, the pressure from family and friends, asking all the time when you are going to get a job, or making you feel useless…we end up desperate, and that leads to several mistakes which I always advise against.
Firstly, we settle for any low paying job opportunity that comes our way and become too afraid to jump to the next boat, because we are of losing a ‘secure job’.
Secondly, we accept a very unjust offer, low pay, no benefits, poor environment, and a bad boss, just for the sake of appearances. You know you hate it there, but you are just too afraid of the alternative to letting it go, to try new things, and to allow yourself to believe that you can do better.
Last, but not least, we no longer believe in ourselves, we develop self-doubt, low self-esteem, and it results in losing great opportunities. No one wants to hire someone who does not transpire confidence.
Even if you have no work experience, you need to be confident in your learning skills and your willingness to learn and improve, that is your key asset when you are a fresh grad.
Fresh graduates unemployment is not a strange occurrence in most of the world’s countries. As a fresh graduate, your key concern should be getting opportunities to learn, to show that you excel at learning, and to build yourself and your career at your own pace, with your own circumstances, and always believing that your time will come.
If your time does not come, as you expect it, then build it in the way you want it. Make the opportunity for yourself, network, ask relevant questions to the right people, volunteer and show your aptitude to serve others, learn new skills, and polish the ones you already have.
Use all of that, with enough confidence, and build your own future. Become a freelancer, a consultant, an online businessman/woman, offer to become an intern in the company of your dreams, choose what better fits your personal case. Take some action, do not stand and wait for luck to come your way…after all, as they say
If there is anything I want you to get from this post is this: Your time is only starting, your difficulties will not last forever, and better days will definitely come. If it feels like things are going too slow make sure you are not comparing yourself to others, and take some strategic actions to speed it up!
Thanks for reading this far, this ended up being my longest blog post so far. Well, I am really passionate about discussing fresh grads unemployment, potential solutions to reduce it and how they themselves can work around it. I feel like there are so much more things to be said, but I will leave the rest for another day.
Please share your thoughts, I’d like to hear what you think about the article/topic, perhaps some tips of your own that you’d like to share. I really appreciate it. 🙂
SCRIBENDI. Shcool’s out, now what? 10 Tips for the recently graduated and unemployed. https://www.scribendi.com/advice/tips_for_the_recently_graduated_and_unemployed.en.html . Accessed on 07/18/2019.