After the internship post it happened that I got to meet some of the managing directors and staff from some of the companies I mentioned during a career fair and I thought why not share the insights they gave. There were representatives from KENHA, Safaricom, KPC, African Women in Science and Engineering. The career fair was organised by Technology Students Association of the School of Engineering, Moi University. The theme was “Technological innovations and design for a sustainable future.” So I will not bore you with the engineering stuff that was said but share the advice given by most of them.
- Career journey is different for everyone.
A good number of the speakers got their first jobs before graduation (Ikr we all want that). This is 25 years ago and things have changed but nevertheless it may happen for you. In the same panel it took one of them two years to get his first job. So it does not come that easy for everyone but whatever happens learn and make the most out of it.
- Take risks.
It is so easy to get comfortable. One of the speakers mentioned quitting his job after working for six months and he had already been promoted to manager. I know most of us would be like what is wrong with you but he felt like he was not being challenged. He quit even before securing the next job but for him it was a risk worth taking.
- Differentiate yourself from others.
What makes you the better option? How will you add value to the company and society in general? Answers to this can help you find what is unique about you.
- There is a difference between I have studied vs I can DO.
We all have papers these days and all the other basic qualifications required but can you do the job. One of the speakers mentioned that he took up tasks he had no idea about but challenged himself to learn what was required in a short period of time. You might be given tasks that might be new but have the zeal to do it.
- Be curious.
You have to know everything that pertains to your field such that if a question is asked your answer is not the same as that of an ordinary person. An example: what are the causes of the building collapsing? For an ordinary person they might say the work was not done well but for a civil engineer like me answers like loading factor, section sizes, foundation type and quality of material should come to mind. (Now think about your field)
- Keep good friends and good networks.
Like I mentioned in the previous post only 20% of jobs are advertised so let’s find the 80%.
- CVs do not work anymore.
Most jobs are gotten through referrals so if you happen to go for attachment or internships just do your best and the work will speak for itself you never know who is watching.
- Constantly add value to yourself.
There are some skills you might never learn in a classroom so have the initiative to learn online or from another person, you never know if it might be a plus for you.
- Master the basics.
Basics always look simple and are often ignored but if you lack the foundation how do you build your knowledge from there.
- Employment is not the only option.
There are so many innovations and entrepreneurship opportunities which can give you a chance to think outside the box.
Side note: When they write must have five years’ experience in a job advert it is just to discourage a few people and reduce the number of applicants (savage right). Just apply, be that persistent person.
Have a lovely week.
The girl with the red lipstick.