2 Misconceptions About Job Searching In Africa And Beyond

The statement “there are no jobs” has become a cliché in our society today-especially in the job hunting sphere. It has therefore become imperative to have the conversation of how true that statement is.

Every day both on and offline, one is likely to come across job hunters seeking several opportunities at earning their livelihood ranging from both ‘skilled’ and ‘unskilled’ labours.

So many factors have been pointed as the reasons behind the high unemployment rate especially in Africa, but we shall be looking at two misconceptions that a lot of job seekers are yet to do away with even as they job hunt because it is believed that job searching itself is a full-time job.

Amid the high unemployment rate, employers and recruiters alike, over the years have always talked about the fact that a lot of the candidates they screen are not employable. They claim there are tons of vacant roles but lack qualified candidates.

Amy Miller, a senior recruiter at amazon, was once quoted to say “getting candidates for entry-level roles, internship roles, are quite easy. But getting from management, executive, and professional takes a long time and is tedious”(paraphrased). In a recent survey by Facebook, it was discovered that the number of people that apply for internship and entry-level roles is way higher when compared to those you get when you go through applications for higher grades.

Some of those vacancies lie for months without getting applied to. This in a nutshell tells us there are lots of vacant positions out there. But worthy of notice is the fact that the number of candidates reduces as you go up the career cadre. If we agree that there are jobs out there, how aren’t people getting them? What needs to be done to change this trend?

As a job seeker, it is all about positioning yourself in the right approach to get the job; not just any job, but your dream job. This now brings us to those misconceptions among job seekers which has unfortunately contributed directly or indirectly to the high unemployment rate around us.

What are the Job hunting myths and Mistakes?

#1: You will get a good-paying job once you got to the University.

This particular misconception is not a new one, I believe. Growing up, a lot of us were given the impression that gaining admission into the University automatically puts an end to the level of poverty that has ravaged our lineage for generations.

Understandably, a lot of students do their best to ensure they get the best grades possible because it is believed that the better the grade, the better the opportunities out there. So for some of us from a humble background, whose parents sold almost all they had just to see us through an Institution of higher learning because they believed they were investing in us their future, we knew we couldn’t afford to disappoint.

Little wonder a lot of young graduates are under pressure to land a well-paying job because they believe they are indebted to their family and folks who sponsored their education.

For clarification purposes, this is not in a bit to discourage people from getting an education. It is still the ‘key’. But we need to understand that the ‘lock’ also has several combinations that require more than just a key to open and access it. For a lot of students, reality starts to set in from their internship period. Then, they begin to understand that it takes more than just pieces of papers certifying whatever, to get as little as an Industrial attachment, before we even start talking about a full-time role proper. At this point, it now becomes a fact that getting a College/University degree does not GUARANTEE a good job.

Does that now mean your good grades are useless?

Of course not! As a fresh graduate, what you need to learn is how to tailor your grades to the needed skills. It is not enough that you have a first-class degree. You need to convince your recruiter that you are not just intelligent on paper, that you are capable of getting the job done.

You also need to know how to job search. Your degree doesn’t guarantee that too. The hack, therefore, is to get busy even before you graduate. Don’t wait to graduate to start job hunting. Volunteer, take up ‘little roles’, build up experience. You’ll be glad you did.

#2: Once you are skilled, you will get a job.

This is where continuous learning comes to play. Some people have been doing the same thing for years without improving on themselves. We are in a digital world. Every day, smarter ways of doing things are introduced and if you cannot meet up, you will be left behind because in a few years, the old ways of doing that job; which you are used to, must have become obsolete, and not needed, and of course, who will the management kick out or replace first? Your guess is as good as mine.

Take, for example, Office assistants before now used to make use of the type-writer and keep hard files in cabinets. The world evolved and Desktop computers replaced typewriters. Soft files replaced hard ones, and email replaced handwritten internal/external memos. Today, Virtual Assistants do the same job from the comfort of their homes, from another city, country, or continent as a whole, and productivity is not affected. I believe you now agree on how important upskilling is?

Getting a job itself is a skill that needs to be mastered. Else, an ignorant job hunter will just be busy all day and getting nothing in return. Even with your skill, you need to convince your recruiter that these and these are what you were able to achieve with those skills. You don’t want to give him/her the impression that you are like someone that owns ammunition but does not know how to use it, so you are at the mercy of a villain despite being in a position to defend yourself.

You also need to prove to the recruiter why you are special among the pool of fellow candidates.

What are the research questions about employment?

Below are some fo the research questions about employment that determines if a company will employ you or not.

  • Why you should be given a chance and not others?
  • Are you a fast learner?
  • What are you bringing to the table?

How to get a job with no experience

How then do you get a job with no experience in today’s world?

#1: Build a skill

Getting a skill is not enough. Build it, improve on it.

#2: Develop a portfolio

Your CV/Resume is not enough. Your portfolio proves what you’ve done before, and it builds some level of confidence on the part of the recruiter.

#3: Create an irresistible resume that the recruiter cannot throw out

Developing a portfolio does not mean a CV/Resume is no longer necessary. They are different parts of the same machine doing different work for the general output.

#4: Apply to multiple roles you qualify for

Some people are unemployed for a long period because they are bent on getting a particular role in a particular organization. Especially for people with little or no experience, the best way to woo the organization of your dream is to be engaged. With your experience and expertise, they will be the ones after you. This will even make it easier for you to approach and negotiate with them because you know your worth and aren’t ready to settle for less.

#5: Get interviewed somehow

When you stay too long without getting interviewed, your interview skills get rusty. And this is not good for your career. Get interviewed. Either through referrals or networking, just get interviewed!

#6: Pass the interview and negotiate your offer

Getting an invite for an interview is not the end. You need to ace the interview and confidently negotiate your offer. Get a background knowledge of the industry pay and the worth of the role. Do your research and know the pay range.

#7: Accept the offer

This of course becomes inevitable the moment you agree on the contract with the recruiter and organization. Accept the offer, resume as at when due, attend the necessary induction training, do your job effectively, continue to up-skill and you’ll be glad to have successfully exited the community of the unemployed.

I wish you all the best in your next application exercise. Remember, it is not over until you win.

Ps: Don’t forget to share if you read to the end and found it useful, remember sharing is caring!

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