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Competitive job market awaits university finalists

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd May 2009 03:00 AM

IT’S no surprise that the innovative brains behind the Vision 200 car at Makerere University (Jeremy and Peter) were hired immediately by The New Vision. They have one of the qualities employers look for, innovation.

By Jacobs Odongo

IT’S no surprise that the innovative brains behind the Vision 200 car at Makerere University (Jeremy and Peter) were hired immediately by The New Vision. They have one of the qualities employers look for, innovation.

However, not all finalists are lucky enough to get a job immediately after university although most of us have hidden talent. With just a week to end of year/end of semester exams at Makerere, finalists are ready to hit the streets in search of jobs. If you have talent, you have to showcase your ability before a panel of interviewers. But you are fresh from university and lack the ‘infamous’ experience all employers want. Do not despair.

You can negotiate your way into a job, but you have to be in touch with the realities of the job market.
The global financial crisis has made it harder to get a job.
While Derrick is worried of losing his job, his son, who is in his final year at the university, will also be looking for one.

Christine Magala, a human resources and organisation development specialist at the International Financial Empowerment Consultancy, says there is a career crisis, which has led to mismatches between professionalism and occupation on one hand and job supply and job demand on the other. She said due to that, fresh graduates have to think outside the box if they are to avoid ‘dying without opening their birthday gifts.’ Magala was quoting Jamal Azim who said our talents are like birthday gifts.

In the job market, unless one is shrewd and has a firm grasp of his/her potential, they may complete their lifespan without realising their talents. This means they don’t get jobs that help develop their talents or professions, but do any job that comes their way.

However, Magala says fresh graduates can avoid this by understanding the current working environment, utilising their full potential and clearly defining their dream challenge.“As fresh graduates, you need to take a self-empowerment approach,” she said at a career guidance seminar at Makerere University last week.

Although Makerere students have a reputation of attending seminars only if the organisers woo them with promises of ‘logistics’ like soft drinks, this time they turned up in large numbers and on time.
Enterprise Uganda also tries to help the students by teaching them how to become job-creators instead of job-seekers.

Each academic year, there are at least 8,000 job-seekers from Makerere. The other universities also contribute a significant number.

Worse still, many students lack proper career guidance. Some do courses without knowing what they want to be. Others want only particular jobs.

Dr. Richard Ssewakiryana, the chief executive officer of the National NGO Forum, advises: “Fresh graduates should seek jobs with a clear vision of what they want. That should be something close to your heart.” He adds that they should avoid the copy cat syndrome. “Copying one’s idea may backfire on you. His success could be a result of factors, which you could be lacking.”

Peter Matovu (not real name) completed his environment management degree at Makerere in 2004 and only got a job in 2008.
“I reached all the corners of Kampala and even tried jobs outside my profession, but things could not work. A time reached when I could take on a sh50,000-per-month job,” he says. However, there is hope and not all fresh graduates find it hard getting a job.

Competitive job market awaits university finalists

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