One thing I know that is constant in life is change, and many of us panic when we are forced to change our great plans and have not thought of plan B.
As a graduate, armed with a degree or degrees, you never imagined that you would struggle to get employment. Months go by and sometimes years, without any prospects. It is very normal to become despondent. I am here to tell you it is not the end of the world, do not give up.
I graduated from UCT with a Bachelor of Social Science, majors in Industrial Psychology and Industrial Sociology. I then went on to do a one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Management.
I was convinced that by the time I left university and started applying for work I would get calls and attend interviews. After all, I had Industrial Psychology and this qualification was in demand.
Calls did come and I attended interviews, however, none of them resulted in permanent employment. Days turned into months, and months turned into years.
I eventually decided to volunteer at church as the pastor’s PA, and I must say I learned a lot, and it prepared me for office administration. A year later I went to Canada and I was employed as an Office Administrator. A year later I came back to South Africa and shortly after I was employed as Project Administrator at Nedcor (Nedbank). This opened doors in project management and by the time I left the organisation I was a Helpdesk Manager with a team of 3.
Over the years I have acquired Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration, I have been certified as a Project Manager with PMI and accredited as a Facilitator by ETDP SETA. I have recruited talent, trained people in customer service, conflict management, and work readiness. I have attended emotional intelligence workshops and signed up for mentoring sessions for personal development. When I look back I realise this journey has not been wasted at all; I am now doing what I am passionate about.
There are two quotes that I like “You can teach a skill, but you cannot teach an attitude”, and “attitude determines altitude”. I was not prepared to give up and I had to find ways to keep myself busy and was determined to learn whatever I could.
So, while you are waiting for that opportunity, look for ways to upskill, to network, and to grow as an individual. What should I do, you ask?
- Get a mentor
- Do volunteer work
- Attend networking sessions
- Upskill yourself
- Update your CV
Employers get impressed when they see a CV that reflects determination and passion despite the challenges. Some of the qualities that employers look for are:
- Work ethic and professionalism
- Willingness to learn
You are in control of your life. They say, “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade”. Your attitude will determine how sweet or sour your lemonade is.
Miriam Ndlela – for The Experience Factory