Unemployment is a real challenge in our country and, if the numbers are anything to go by, things aren’t about to get better. According to Stats SA, the burden of unemployment is highest among young people – they account for 63.4% of the total number of unemployed people in the country.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – here are some things to do while you wait for your big break:
- Make use of all available resources. Reach out on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, and let people know about your skills and the opportunities you are looking for. Join Facebook groups like I Know A Guy to learn about available opportunities. Create profiles and upload updated CVs on job hunting websites such as Bizcommunity, Indeed and PNet.
- Instead of sitting around idly, use the spare time before you join the working world to build life-long skills by taking online courses on Coursera, which offers free learning and the option to purchase a certificate on completion of the course – from as little as R700 – from universities such as Berkeley and Stanford in the US. Visit coursera.org.
- Explore options that diverge from the usual employment strategy, such as entrepreneurial projects and fellowships. Visit opportunitiesforafricans.com for fellowships and try The Innovation Hub (currently only catering to folks in Gauteng) for enterprise development and enabling programmes. Research the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, Aurik Business Accelerator, Transnet Enterprise Development Hub and other initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to become entrepreneurs. Enquire at your municipality or nearest National Youth Development Agency office about initiatives available in your region.
- Use your former university’s computer labs while you still have access to them to apply for jobs, fellowships, scholarships and grants for potential projects.
- Get alumni library access. Even if you have to pay a little fee, it’s worth it, especially if you can travel to the facilities. Otherwise, try your nearest municipal library, which might allow you to use the internet at a much lower fee.
- To save money spent travelling to drop off CVs, ask people to drop off your CV at various companies, especially if they work in your field or know someone who might. Also, make sure that your CV copy is clean and precise, and the format doesn’t have any unnecessary decorations.
- Ask family, friends and your virtual communities for donations of clothes for you to wear to interviews. Many folks have garments they can do without.
- If a family member or friend can, ask them to print your CV and supporting documents at their homes or workspace to save on costs.
- Importantly, look out for scammers, and don’t pay for jobs or bribe anyone.