Next week we will hold our bi-annual Career Preparedness Bootcamp. We believe that building the kind of career that you would like to have, takes being very intentional, as early as even high school. The earlier you start, the higher the likelihood of getting a job straight out of uni. Unfortunately, the majority of uni students are not doing this.
In this blog, we highlight some of the things that students should be doing to set themselves up for jobs when they graduate. During the Career Preparedness Bootcamp, we will cover this in more depth.
- Create a LinkedIn profile.
Every person who intends to build a great career should do this as early as possible. Even if the profile will merely have a list of where you attend high school, your extra-curricular activities, what you see as your skills, and a summary of the sort of career that may interest you, it’s a good idea to create this early.
It is important for the profile to include jobs you have held, including internships and volunteer activities. In addition, it should include any awards you have received or even any other accolades. Eugene Ng’ang’a, a graduate of Cohort 1 include the report of the Study Trip to Kigali that he prepared and this attracted the attention of potential employers.
Your profile should also indicate any recommendations you have received from your lecturers or any other supervisor that you may have worked with. LinkedIn allows you to start building your list of connections early. Most adults you know have LinkedIn profiles with multiple contacts, connect to as many people as you can.
- Get an internship as early as possible.
It is never too early to start interning. In the event you are not ale to get an internship opportunity, then volunteer in organisations that are related to your fields of interest.
As much as possible, aim at getting an internship with a company with a level of brand recognition. Alternatively, get internship in a company that provides many learning opportunities that will develop your skills and allow you to distinguish yourself after university.
As part of the Lapid Leaders Experience, Mercy Maina a graduate of Cohort 1, secured internship with a start-up. This provided her with the opportunity to sharpen her skills, and play a significant role in the organisation as it was still in its inception stages. The lessons she learned through this Experience acted as a stepping stone to securing a graduate trainee position in KPMG.
3. Secure a mentor
One of the benefits of having a mentor is that they enable you to have access to opportunities that you ordinarily would not have access to. As much as possible, find a mentor in the field that you are interested in. Odipo G, one of the Lapid Leaders Mentors, advices young people to identify the people whose immediate past is their immediate future. They should then seek to be mentored by such people.
As part of the Lapid Leaders Experience, Paul Ng’ang’a a graduate of Cohort 2, secured internship in an organisation run by one of the Lapid Leaders Mentors, Akariza Mwenda. This has enabled him to develop his marketing skills further by learning under the mentor.
4. Establish a presence on WordPress or through your own blog.
Register for the Lapid Leaders Career Preparedness Bootcamp Here
Journaling and writing is a key element of leadership. Writing not only allows young people the opportunity to develop into thought leaders on topical issues, but it develops the reflection abilities of the leaders. Young people should therefore use WordPress to set themselves apart.
What should young people blog about? If you don’t know what career path you want to pursue, pick a personal interest and write about that, whether it’s pop music or tennis or Model United Nations. It’s preferable if you can zero in on a professional topic like marketing, but if you can’t, do write about a subject that interests you.
- Join an organisation that is intentional in providing Career Services
Though most universities have career offices that can help with résumé and cover letter writing, and job interview preparations, our experience has been that this office is not able to provide personalized services to the students.
Through organisations like Lapid Leaders Africa, you can polish your resume and interview skills. For example, the Lapid Leaders Experience provides a platform for students to go through mock interviews that are facilitated by leading HR practitioners. The students are then give personalized feedback on their performance, areas of improvement and other practical tips.
JoyAnne Waweru was part of the Lapid Leaders Mock Interviews. Through this, she was given personalized feedback on her resume and interview skills. Several weeks later, one of the HR practioners who was conducting interviews at the Mock Interviews invited her for an interview in the organisation, and she succeeded in getting the job as she had greatly improved her interview skills.
These are some of the tips that can distinguish university students as they look for the first job. If you haven’t started networking, putting together a LinkedIn profile and doing internships you need to. For more information on this and a lot more, sign up for the Lapid Leaders Career Preparedness Bootcamp on the link here.