Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When the going gets tough: 5 creative ways to succeed as an unemployed graduate


Have you ever heard it said, if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger? While it's not always the most wonderful thing to hear, history seems to have proven that it is true. People facing challenging times learn not only from their mistakes, but they're forced to get creative and come up with new ideas and solutions. Oftentimes, a new and greater success rises from the dust. 

During times of heavy unemployment and economic challenges, necessity often forces people of all ages, races and levels of society to get creative and find a unique way to make a living.

In South Africa, young graduates are finding it harder to get their feet on the career ladder. Job ads always seem to ask for “experience”, but it’s not always easy to get that experience when you’re just starting out.


Here are a few options available when the doors are getting slammed in your face:

  1. Sign up: take time to do unpaid volunteer or intern work in your chosen industry. This approach can help to solve the “experience” problem and will show potential employers that you’re committed to developing your career.
  2. Research and write: after graduation, it’s easy to let everything you’ve learned slip away, especially if you haven’t used it in a while. So keep on researching new trends in your field of study and writing about what you’ve learned and noticed. 
  3. Use social media: social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and a blog can be very useful in networking with others in your chosen field and potential employers. Take time to engage in conversations about your line of work.
  4. Think about following up your degree: getting an additional diploma in another field might just help you to get started in a job, even if it’s in a different direction to what you studied for your degree. You can always try to make your way back to your chosen career later when you have more work experience.
  5. Make money: instead of waiting for that dream job to come along, take time to think of how you can utilise the knowledge and talent you have to start earning income all by yourself. Your entrepreneurial path might not follow your intended career path, but somewhere along the line you will be able to put the knowledge you gained from your degree to good use. And you never know – your micro-enterprise might just end up making you happier!

If you have any other suggestions that might help unemployed graduates find a way to make a living, let us know in the comments section below.

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