College students are often under the impression that they’ll get a well-paying job as soon as they graduate from college. Unfortunately, with South Africa’s current unemployment rate sitting at 29%, finding a job that soon after completing their studies remains a pipe dream for most. Some graduates are fortunate enough to find work in their field of interest soon after graduation, while others spend months looking for work; some are even willing to accept an unpaid internship to gain experience.
Let’s be honest, finding a job (especially in your relevant field) can be a difficult process but this doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel - you have other options too.
Here are 6 things you can do after you graduate college to bring you closer to finding your dream job.
Take a gap year - this will help you to pinpoint the career path you would like to follow and the steps you’ll need to take to start your journey. Whether you take a year off before or after college, it’s still a good option for anyone unsure of what to do next.
Work abroad - not only will working abroad look great on a CV but you’ll also be able to travel to new places, meet new people and experience different cultures. The best part? You don’t need to be rich to do this - there are programs available that will find work and pay for your travels overseas.
Become a freelancer - doing some freelance gigs on the side will not only help you gain valuable experience, but you’ll start earning money and have enough free time to look for full-time employment.
Apply for an internship - gain valuable work experience in your chosen field and learn new skills that aren’t taught in college. Those are just two reasons why applying for an internship is a good choice for new graduates. Once the internship is complete, the company might even offer you a full-time position; if not, you’ll have the necessary experience to find employment at another reputable institution.
Do an online course - digital courses are not only useful to stay busy while job hunting but these can help fill any skills gaps you may have. There are free or inexpensive ones available online so find out which skills you’ll need in order to enter your desired industry and find a reputable online course to apply for.
When applying for jobs, take a closer look at the position’s requirements. Even if you are not qualified for the position, you will gain a better understanding of what skills you’ll need to gain in order to be eligible in the future.
Get a part-time job to gain general work experience - if you can’t find work in your relevant field straight out of college, having some kind of work experience listed on your CV will demonstrate a strong work ethic and prove your flexibility in that you can work in various industries (not just your field of study).
The best thing to do, of course, is to start applying for jobs as soon as you finish your studies, this will give you a better understanding of South Africa’s current job market and the level of demand there is for graduates in your field. The point is that many new graduates are clueless as to what the next step after graduation is, don’t get caught in the same predicament. Choose from one of the options above and get closer to your dream career.