While I genuinely hope that the new government is able to make good on its promises and responsibilities in respect to job creation and employment, I also begin to wonder if we haven’t focused so much on the government’s role that we forget our own potential to change our situations. Even if the change of government does result in economic changes to favour young people, these changes are likely to be felt unevenly across the country and across sectors and they certainly won’t come overnight.
I don’t intend to blame individuals for their unemployment or underemployment, but rather to encourage them. If we only see the problem as outside ourselves then we miss out on those solutions which do lie within our grasp.
For those who are still students, what do the depressing stats on unemployment mean for you? It means it is a challenging time to get your foot in the door, so you will need more than just your certificate to land that job you want. Think of the direction you want to go with your career and how you will set yourself apart from all the other graduates in your field. There are many avenues to add experience beyond your certificate while still on campus: volunteering, clubs, associations, leadership roles, whatever it is, find ways to give yourself an edge and more than just some book knowledge. If you are out of school and have been job hunting already you can still look for these opportunities, especially if you are currently doing nothing- you don’t want to have gaps on your CV so find something to improve yourself in the meantime- volunteer, join a training program-there are plenty of free options to boost your skills and experience if you explore!
Once you have some practical experience you need to learn how to sell that information. This means networking, creating a solid CV, communicating well- practice and prepare for interviews! It takes a conscious effort to make a good impression, which really is the first step in getting a job call. There is a wealth of information available on these subjects, you can get templates for CVs, sample questions and tips with a quick internet search. The internet is not the only resource, don’t forget to draw from the people you know, friends, colleagues, and especially those in the field you are seeking. Many universities also have career centres where you can get assistance, there are also organizations, like EQWIP HUBs where you can get one on one help or training for free.
So let’s all continue to hope, pray and hold the government accountable to follow through on the promises made, but in the meantime let’s also continue to do our own part to achieve what we want in our careers.