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Congradulations! Navigating the terrains of the job hunting for recent graduates

All the hard work, the sleepless nights, the stressful studies, lots of money invested in your education. Battling the process of thesis writing. All have contributed to your success.

You are more than excited to hold that first degree or a master’s degree. Everyone is now looking up to you, to change or improve the situation at home.

For some, the path to secure a job might be a daunting task. In this economy if one is not careful you will find yourself spending months if not years job hunting.

This can inevitably lead to mental health issues. You could begin to question if all the stress of learning you went through was worthy it.

Surely, there is something you need to get right from the onset as you set yourself to hunt for a job.
This piece of writing is by and large intended for recent graduates aiming to work in international development space, Non-Governmental Organizations, International Organizations and others.

Define your area of interest

For some, you found yourself just taking a degree or programme because your advanced high school level results could not get you the right programme. For others, your parents encouraged or forced you take a degree not of your choosing.

How then can this be addressed? There is plenty of opportunities that you can explore. The first step could be defining your area and subject of interest.

Gone are the days when popular careers used to pay so much. Popular careers such as law, accounting, and medicine, among others, no longer pay as well as they once did.

You would be surprised some careers in environment, climate change, are becoming more favorable on the market in light of global ambitions to drive net zero emissions.

If you are driven to achieve sustainable development programs, a great way to start your career could be settling for an internship, volunteer or fellowship opportunity.

There are plenty of internship opportunities that are offered by international development organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme, Save the Children, Plan International, World Health organizations, Care International among others.

The most popular opportunities are UN volunteer programmes. Once you define your area of interest that could be in human rights, procurement, climate, health, administration, finance, economics, human resources, you need to learn how the hiring processes within different organizations like those work.

Be open minded and willing to explore some offers on the table

Your career may not be straight. You may find yourself doing something that you didn’t necessarily study.
This is why is it advisable to take on an internship or volunteer opportunity with International Organizations, NGOs. This will allow you to learn about the organizational settings.

Many graduates are not humble enough to apply for entry level job positions, internships or volunteer opportunities. They shun the titles intern, volunteer or junior.

You must understand that many people that you see today as senior or holding permanent staff positions, the majority of them started with an internship or volunteer opportunity.

Networking: Make use of social media platforms like LinkedIn

The 21st century generation is blessed so much with the internet access, digital platforms that make it easy to access international opportunities.

One of the greatest asset that could transform a graduate’s life is professional social media platform like LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn you will find many experts in your area of interests. You need to follow them especially ones that give tips on securing a job in their line of work. Some professionals are free and comfortable to assist if you send them a message for career guidance.

You need to have a strong pitch when you send a private message that will drive them to respond to you.
Remember they are not entitled to respond, guide or give you a job. It is out of their generosity and free will to lend a helping hand to talk to you, refine your CV or motivational letters.

You would do yourself a lot of favor if you dedicate some time to chat with people on LinkedIn or follow those that are working in some organizations that you are interested in. This will go a long way in helping you to find your opportunity out there.

Make use of online platforms

There are plenty of job boards that compile jobs, internships, volunteers, fellowships, scholarships opportunities, you need to find authentic ones such as that will give you access to some international opportunities.

The United Nations Careers is a voluntary online platform that aggregates jobs, internships, volunteers and scholarships that arise in international organizations. You can check for entry, mid-level and senior positions online.

Lastly, know that you will be knocked several times but you will need to be patient.

Written by Emmanuel Bernard Muzingwani, an International Consultant with UNDP, Digi-tech diplomat and founder of Emmanuel writes in his personal capacity and his views do not represent those of the United Nations.

Job hunting tips for recent graduates

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