Personal Finance

How new graduates can enhance access to jobs


Graduates queue for a job interview in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • Students need to focus on developing a portfolio and employability profile for the course they are pursuing.

One of the many ironies in today’s job market is that while young graduates can’t land jobs, employers are equally lamenting lack of right entry-level skills.

Most recruiters struggle to find the right candidates they can shortlist for interviews.

As a recruiter, one of the biggest challenges we face is sifting through applications and end up a few or none.

It is when gleaning through CVs of fresh graduates, which contain no requisite training, skills and experience.

Well, most fresh graduates lament it’s unfair for employers to ask them to have skills while they are just out of school. That is where they go wrong.

Let me show them how. The more than 16 years they have spent in basic and higher education are enough to gather skills and experience.

Students need to focus on developing a portfolio and employability profile for the course they are pursuing.

Attachments and internships are the strating points for some professions. Internships are positively perceived by employers because they provide opportunities for industry to contribute to training and the implicit curriculum as well as provide an informal probationary experience for prospective employees.

Two, students can look for avenues to participate in part-time employment while studying. Combining work with learning can open doors to move into careers in the same industry.

For instance, those training as teachers can volunteer to teach during their long holidays; those studying law can do research in law firms and those pursuing journalism can send unsolicited articles to editors.

Engaging in extra-curricular activities and community engagement can also enhance graduate employability.

READ: Kenya shows shift in training for job market

The student is able to develop industry skills and soft skills such as team-building and professionalism. In areas like education, such certificates prove that one is a sportsperson and earns one marks during recruitment.

Also getting involved in volunteering opportunities can be a transformative experience. It is often seen that volunteering is strongly linked to a values-based approach and enhances an individual’s leadership and teamwork skills, including resilience, courage and recognising one’s impact on others.

Another minefield is the harnessing of the online social networking. Graduates can improve their employability with extra skill set of targeting social networking for career development.

This include social network primary online vehicle for employability like LinkedIn where CVs can be posted. A great CV can attract the best employers.

Job boards, newspaper classifieds and print ads only offer a small fraction of the total number of vacancies. Recruiters use a variety of other social media platforms like LinkedIn, job sites, forums and databases to reach the targeted graduates.

Perminus Wainaina, Managing Partner & CEO at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd