I had no intention of writing this one. I’m not good at giving advice to people when it comes to life choices. All the life choices I made took me to the slurry portion of the earth when actually I’d wanted to land on the sun. After I posted; Congratulations Class of 2016; 7 Things That Will Get You Angry In Your Job Search, someone asked me a question and I decided to give an answer here.
So this friend asked me; what did you do when you couldn’t find a job? I didn’t do anything. I slept and ate from mummy’s kitchen. The only thing I remember doing so well was being there when mom wanted someone to send.
That woman can send you to the same place ten times in a space of one minute doing things you could have done on a single errand. It was my job. I didn’t get angry. I always delivered. Sometimes I ran one more unrequested errand just so she could mark me as proactive. That’s how much I love my mum.
It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t getting a job. I blamed everybody; The government didn’t create a special job for me knowing I was going to complete school soon. The economy decided to get worse just when I’ve left school. The company that didn’t call me after the interview didn’t like me because I was too tall;
Maybe I went to the wrong school and did the wrong course. Or maybe what the pastor said was right; my village witches were at it again- firing catapult of envy at my progress. I blamed everyone and everything except myself for not getting a job.
Then one day, my worse fear came to pass. My girlfriend had a job! Can you imaging? I was clever than her when we were in school but she had a job whiles I was home running errands for mummy. She got busy with job and started visiting less and less till she stopped visiting at all.
It was that point, that lonely night when I wished she was there with me that I realized I had to stop giving excuses and start making it a job to look for a job.
So I started….
It took me so many mistakes of looking for the right job in the wrong places until I learnt these;
#1. Be Positive
Positivity is a beautiful garment to wear. It shines on you and everyone that meets you is suddenly engulfed in your light. They tend to smile at you. You can’t put the positive man down. Be positive when you can’t find a job. Be positive when all around you pick up their bags to go to work and leave the household in your care.
It’s not easy being positive especially when you can’t fake. Remember how far you’ve come. The obstacles that you have to cross before completing school. Then tell yourself; this too shall pass. Everyday find something that will keep you busy and do it. Something that you really enjoy doing. I ran errands for mom. Find yours and do it. It will help you keep a free mind and a level head.
#2. Don’t Stop Learning
Read around the niche you want to be employed in. Be abreast with the happenings in your niche. You don’t want to sound empty at the interview when they ask you about the trending news in the industry. Learn something new everyday. That’s how people add value to themselves.
#3. Talk to people
Some people call this networking. Listen to the name again; ’Net-Work’. It sounds like a net that works. You are looking for work so you should be interested in words that have “work” in them!
Try to build a network around your industry. LinkedIn comes to mind anytime I think of networking. Look for people who work in your industry and connect with them. Try to comment on their post. I mean intelligent comments about industry practices and knowledge. Drop them messages on their anniversaries or when they change jobs. Get yourself noticed so you could ask them for referrals when the chance comes
Professional networking really pays off during work search. Sometimes, it’s not about what you know. Previously, it was about who you know until recently I was told that these days it’s about who knows you. Let someone know you so they can give you referrals when it becomes available.
#4. Work for Free
You were probably disappointed when you read a job posting that requires 3 to 5 years work experience. You asked yourself where as a fresh graduate you were going to acquire that number of years experience. Volunteer your skills to an organization in the industry you’ll like to work in. Apart from acquiring experience, it gives you the opportunity to market your talent in a field where it’s needed.
It helps your networking game. When a position becomes available, it becomes easier to be given to you. If eventually you don’t get a job where you are volunteering your services, Someday, your boss could recommend you to someone in his network. Many jobs have been won this way. You can win this way too.
I didn’t get an amen for that?
#5. Start a Blog
A friend believed in me and always advised me to be someone who writes things. I spent hours unend everyday convincing myself that I can’t write. Today I believe him. I’m writing. Everybody can write!
How many WhatsApp messages do you send to friends in a day? How many Facebook updates do you write in a day. Combine all the things you write about in a day for one year and see if you can’t write a book. It’s possible. Just find the spot of your passion and engage it in writing.
You do your own make-up and spend time in front of the mirror making sure you get it right. Blog about it. Just put down the processes you have to go through to get your make-up right. Someone will learn from you. It doesn’t stop there. They’ll visit your blog everyday to get tips on make-up. Soon they will trust you. They’ll subscribe to your blog and you’ll grow.
You take photos of yourself and post them on Instagram and get 100 ‘Likes’ in a day. You think you are not a photographer? Go to youtube, learn a thing or two about photography. Add it to your portfolio and off you go. You can then start your photography blog where you post your work and start getting gigs at weddings and other social gatherings.
That’s how you make money off your talent!
#6. Take Advantage of the Internet
Technology is eating jobs away inch by inch everyday. We can’t stop it. That power was not given to us. Every single line of code written into a software takes someone’s job away. What happened to the postal services of Ghana? What happened to the phone booths we saw aligned on our streets some years back? What happened to “Space to Space?”
They were all eaten away by software and hardware. The job you are looking for today will be endangered tomorrow.
My friend studied Web Development at udemy.com for as low as $20. Now he makes GHc1,000 or more per a website he develops for people. I learnt Coding at codecademy.com. It’s easier for me to understand coding but very difficult for me to do because I’m lazy.
I wanted something simpler. I went to youtube, learn WordPress installation and paid $0.00 for it. I put up this blog all by myself following youtube tutorials. You can do it too. It’s so simple you’ll be amazed.
I love free things (who doesn’t?). A friend introduced me to futurelearn.com and until now anytime I sneeze, I bless his name.
Futurelearn provides high quality free courses ranging from Science and Technology, Arts and Humanities, Body and Mind, Business and Management etc. These e-learning courses are ran by top UK and international Universities so you can be assured of the quality. And it’s all for free!
So you see, you have no excuse to be dumb or not to know. Many people are improving themselves each day through the resources that the internet provides. In the end, you’ll be competing for positions with these same people. How can you win?
So which of these 7 things did I do to get a job?
None! Before I got a real job I had a job I did for love. I was a MEB (Mom’s Errand Boy). I guess I was too busy running errands to know these things that I’m talking about here today.
You are not like me. You can’t love being sent to the same place ten times in a minute. That means you need a job real quick. Get busy positioning yourself for good opportunities to find you.
Use your unemployed days very well because you are going to miss it when finally you get employed. You’ll miss the days you have to sleep all day because you had no business waking up at dawn rushing for trotro.
Hmmm…I miss those days when mom gives me the honor to be the first person to taste her stew. Then she would ask; “Is there too much salt?” It was an honor even my dad couldn’t have though he paid the “chop money”