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This is how to make the shift from being a student to an employee

WORK LIFE
By Goretti Kimani | January 15th 2016
Grandaunts follows proceedings during the 11th Graduation ceremony at Kabarak University

NAIROBI: For many young people, finally leaving school to join the working class can be quite exciting. Unfortunately, this transition is not usually as smooth as it should be, owing to a number of factors.

Key among these factors is the perennial lack of job opportunities, which can break anyone’s will. Bloated expectations can also lead to serious disappointments after college, as can poor preparation, where individuals are not set for the harsh realities of the workplace.

The world of work calls for a massive change from students, but a lot of the time, it is a bigger adjustment than they imagine when seated in class dreaming about future jobs.

Therefore, students needs to prepare themselves adequately to avoid being paralysed by the shock that meets many fresh graduates.

To begin with, get your mind set on the reality of leaving school and what it means. You will have to be on your own, far from the comfort of fellow students, teachers and parents. You might also have to travel to a distant town, seek new accommodation and get used to a completely different environment. Get ready to do without some of the basic comforts you are used to, as more pressing financial demands take precedence.

Interview skills

Next, ensure your CV is up to date, and the information properly presented. Get all other documents — such as certificates and transcripts — together and store them in a presentable, portable and convenient format.

Get a good set of clothes and learn some basic job search and interview skills. And ensure you have some money to help you move around — it is pointless to apply for jobs and then fail to attend interviews owing to a lack funds to pay for transport or accommodation.

It is not uncommon for graduates to attend interviews in inappropriate attire and then cite a lack of finances as the reason for this. This excuse does not impress. Find part-time or menial jobs to support yourself in this regard.

Brace yourself for disappointments. The real world is full of ups and downs and the faint-hearted cannot get far. Get ready to fight it out with other candidates for whatever jobs you apply for. Remember, you do not have the luxury of discriminating against job openings. Take whatever job comes your way, learn and grow.

Avoid shortcuts at all costs. As attractive as they may appear, the damage to your long-term career prospects can be far reaching, and sometimes irreparable

Develop a culture of continuous personal development. Look out for affordable reading material or free trainings and seminars that can add value to your life.

You might also need to keep off friends who are not willing to adapt to your new life. Such baggage can prove expensive for a young, fragile career.

And make a good professional development plan. Never imagine that you will get very far with just one qualification. Look around for appropriate courses that you can consider in future.

Seek career guidance and professional advancement tips. It also pays to have a mentor or coach. Whatever you do, remember to stay positive.

The writer is a human resource and careers specialist at Peoplelink Consultants. [email protected]

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