Friday, February 21, 2014

Just Graduated

By Stephen M. Mureithi (PhD)

Congratulations for your excellent results:) Now that you have just or is about to graduate, what next?

Still have dreams? I hope yes. OK, good because if you stay focused you will be able to achieve them. There is nobody who can stop you apart from yourself and the limitations you set for yourself in the mind. God has already provided you with the potential and ability to achieve what you want in life, so go for it. And honor him when you get there.

Things to do:
Acquire Financial Education – At the University or College you have so far acquired academic and professional education which is key to excelling in life as you serve the society. But as you will soon (or you have already) realize, the world deals with money, and to be successful, you’ve got to learn how to deal with it. So, endeavor to acquire financial education, without which you will not be truly successful in life despite your achievements in academics and profession. Like a three legged stool, acquiring the three will make you stable and successful. Where do you start? Read books – I suggest you start by reading ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ here!
Get right back to college – Continue with your studies (M.Sc./M.A. or PhD). There is nothing cool like studying while you are young. However, what you choose to pursue at postgraduate levels has to fit in your long-term career goal, not just to fill a nothing-to-do time gap. Interested? See some Master and PhD Scholarships here!
Find a job/management trainee-ship positions - The advantages of getting into employment as quickly as possible are:
  • Start earning income! You've probably got a student loan to pay back, and your parents have probably got plenty to spend their missing millions on, rather than their 'boomerang' offspring!
  • Employers are more impressed by people who have shown commitment to work, and are willing to learn new things (ask questions).
  • Gets you in the habit of getting out of bed early in the morning - the work routine.
  • You're more likely to encounter people who can help you in your career while seeking for a job, than while in the couch!
Don't make the mistake of thinking you should wait until a job in your chosen field comes along: it may never do so, or maybe not for quite a while. There's nothing wrong (and everything right) with getting a job that gets you started, and continuing to look out for 'a proper job'. You could change jobs several times over the first five years of your working life before you acquire the label 'job-hopper'. Employers understand that it takes a while for young people to find their feet.
The vast majority of people 'fall into' long term careers by this process of trial and error, and never end up in what seemed like 'the proper job' at the outset.
OK! So you've decided to take this advice and get cracking. Now, what exactly should you do?
Attitude (Your mind)
Be as flexible and open-minded as you possibly can be! If you are willing to take any job, anywhere, for any (reasonable) money, then you are more likely find a job sooner than if you are not!
CV (Resume)
Prepare a CV! The internet has many resources on how to write a Good CV.
Obtain permission from two or three people to use them as referees. Ideally, these should include your college tutor and someone who employed you in an industrial placement during your degree, or a vacation job for example. Failing that, use a family friend who holds a professional position: doctor, lawyer, pastor, employer, for example. Include the names and contact details (including email) of your referees on your CV.
Magazines – include daily newspapers in your local reference library.
Apply to every job that interests you. Do not worry if the advertisement asks for more experience than you have to offer. The employer may not be able to find an experienced person, and by applying you will be saving him the expense of re-advertising for a trainee position in a month's time. Secondly, they may have another, unadvertised job for a trainee. Thirdly, what have you got to lose by trying?
If you have been able to obtain back issues of publications, apply to every organization that advertised the sort of jobs you are interested in, in the last year (or in fact, as far back as you like!). Write a slightly different covering letter to accompany your CV:
Dear Sir/Madam, I noticed that in last January's issue of The Daily Nation that you were advertising for a Soil Scientist position. This is exactly the sort of job I am looking for. If you have any current or forthcoming vacancies for Trainee Soil Scientists, then I would be very interested to meet you. I enclose a CV for your consideration.
Do not worry about doing this: they might not have filled the job, or they might have filled the job, but the new person didn't work out very well, or they might have a new junior position. Again, what have you got to lose?
If you have access to the worldwide web (preferably on broadband, with unlimited access), scour the internet for information and potential job (scholarships) opportunities.
Seek internships – whether paid or unpaid, internships helps to build up your experience that you will table as you seek for jobs. Employers are more likely to hire a person who is volunteering somewhere than one just tarmacking in the streets.
Volunteer – Not many organizations will refuse you to work for them, even for free. Many will soon put you in the payroll if they find you persistent and valuable. Works the same like internships, but the later have short time frames.
Start a business – If you are entrepreneurial (everyone should be able) you can start a business which you have passion, knowledge and skills in. Agribusiness for example, offers many opportunity for agriculturalists who do not mind getting dirty while earning good money. You are surrounded by a crowd of both old and young people who have employed themselves and created jobs for many others. Start now, start small and grow Biggest:)

Things not to do:
Do not sit at home – pity parties’ leads nowhere. Wake up and do something positive.
Do not do drugs, prostitution, alcohol or crime – If you didn’t do it so far, why start now? Concentrate on healthy living, and you will live long, healthy and happy:)
Do not waste time – thinking you are still young is wasting life. If there are things you need to do, do them now.

The Author is an Entrepreneur and a Lecturer in Land and Water Resource Management at the University of Nairobi. Comments can be left under this post (click title) or sent to

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