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Volunteer for experience to secure your dream job

“I am not telling you it’s easy, but I am telling you “it’s going to be totally worth it.”

Millions of youth with various skills graduate from schools yearly. Yet, unfortunately, the job market is not growing at the same rate.

So, there is a shortage of new jobs while the job market is growing increasingly competitive by the day. It, therefore, behoves the jobseekers to differentiate themselves for a chance to land employment.

In my interaction with the youth, they say: “Almost no employer wants to hire someone without experience. How do I ever get the experience without anyone trusting me, my skill and giving me the job?”

And I often ask them: “How much are you willing to invest in yourself to get a job?” That is not the financial investment but the investment of time and effort.

Sounds strange, but true. Most of such youth have been learning new skills hoping that it would help them somehow get a job, but no one is sure if they are the right ones.

First step

Instead offer yourself in a job as a volunteer and not as an employee. Volunteering in a job is usually the first step because some organisations offer internships or jobs only to those with relevant experience.

Volunteering is not uncommon with both employers and jobseekers. In fact, there have been great successes in such endeavours.

Through volunteering, jobseekers get an opportunity to present themselves while employers can try out the prospective employees. In fact, it is a test ground. The moment a jobseeker volunteers, they create a first positive impression in the minds of employers by demonstrating the initiative, commitment and motivation. Employers value these qualities.

In such opportunities, the company will judge skills and strengths to make a job commitment. And that is why organisations are keen to have volunteers.

And considering the unique situation facing the youth, volunteering is an easy solution. You are not doing this to earn money, but to earn experience. So, whether paid or unpaid or even not for credit, don’t miss out on such opportunities of immense benefits.

Volunteering offers real-world experience that no academic institution can ever give, opportunity to meet people and network with those who can help you in your job search.

For the real committed, this experience adds weight to your resume, it is the way to develop soft skills like time management, goal orientation and team work to say the least.

Indeed, it is a solid foundation to your career, a platform for applying theory into practice, and, importantly, testing if this is the right (career) path to take.

As a volunteer, you have a foot in the door at companies, you can get references for your good work which can benefit you in the future.

But how do you approach organisations to stand a better chance of being noticed as the-next-big-thing volunteer?

Start early

Firstly, start your search early, choose the industry, research about the organisation you are eyeing, look intern vacancies or full time jobs or volunteers.

Frequently visit job boards or even career services or placement agencies, don’t ignore the social media, which is one of the busiest platforms for all types of activities and announcements.

Prepare a target resume and send formal mail requests to the HR of the companies you are dying to work for.

When you get the opportunity, make sure to use it to the maximum by learning and gaining very experience that is keeping most new graduates cold and worried.

Use the opportunity to explore interests, make an effort to shine, constantly challenge yourself and make sure you create the right impression.

Always be willing to take more responsibility, show your supervisor that you have a ‘Positive and Yes I Can’ attitude.

Be curious and willing to learn by asking relevant questions and keep communicating both good news and bad news; but do not overdo the stuff.

Motivate and learn

As much as possible, be quick to understand the gaps in your skill and voluntarily discuss with your supervisor about the new skills you want to pick up. It shows them how genuine you are.

It should be your to constantly challenge and motivate yourself to take up more work and focus on results.

Be part of the team since employers are always looking for people who can work with the others. It is through working as a team that you motivate the rest or learn from the best.

Find a mentor who can guide you and who can also provide you good reference. Volunteer, start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.

Sriram is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. He chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. @Sbharatam or sri@kuzabiashara.co.ke.

source : http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/Volunteer-for-experience-to-secure-your-dream-job/539550-2836370-865ng3/index.html