A friend of mine graduated with a degree in Business Administration, and followed it with a Masters in International business. But despite her outstanding academic background, she is still finding it difficult to get a job. “Things are very tough out there” she says. “I thought having a master’s degree would guarantee me a job. Others want experience while some feel I’m too qualified for the job”.It gets worse. She actually borrowed money to do her Master’s degree because she was confident she would get a job after post graduate school.
You see, our society has made us believe that we need a Master’s degree to thrive through our careers. On the day you graduate, speeches are said encouraging you to go for one. But, is it the only answer? Can’t we thrive without it? Do not get me wrong, I’m not discouraging anyone from studying doing a Masters especially when you are not the one paying for it . However we can all agree that times are tight, we are being suffocated by expenses. You do not have to run bankrupt trying to pursue a master’s degree. There are other ways you can improve your career.
You can start by learning a foreign language. You have probably seen those job adverts where it is stated that knowledge of a foreign language is an added advantage. Well, just to be clear if you come from western Uganda and you can speak Luganda that does not count as a foreign language. Anyway, believe it or not, studying a foreign language will definitely open career doors for you.
While I was at university, a lanky guy we liked to call MJ enrolled for French lessons. He often joked that his knowledge of French would make him a millionaire.
At that time he paid sh800, 000 for his course, quite a big figure for a university student. Well, today his bonuses alone are six times that amount. He works in France.Take time and search the internet, you will be amazed by how many opportunities are present for anyone who can speak Chinese.
Perhaps you can spend time building experience. The issue of experience usually raises a common question. How do you expect me to gain experience yet I’m unemployed?
Aggie Kwesiga a human resource expert has shared this with me more than once.
“You can always get experience through internship and volunteering. Do not wait for the dream job, offer your services and learn, then what you have learnt will lead you to the dream job”.
I once interviewed a managing engineer with Quality chemicals Uganda who shared similar advice.
“The thing about starting you career is that you will always feel like people are using you. But after you’ve gained your experience and cross over for a better offer, you will realize it is you who actually used them.”
At the end of the day experience is priceless; it does not matter whether you earned it while working for free.