Motivation and tips for the unemployed graduate

unemployed graduates

The plight of unemployed graduates is an ongoing issue in our country and beyond. The solution is to set yourself apart from everyone else. Here are some tips to help you differentiate yourself from everyone else on the job market.

According to the STATS SA Quaterly Labour Force Survey – QLFS Q1:2017 the unemployment rate remained high among those with education level of less than matric at 33,1% which is 5,4 percentage points higher than the national average, while the unemployment rate among graduates remained at 7, 3% in 2017. The plight of unemployed graduates is an ongoing issue in South Africa and the rest of our continent. And it is a pain that only a person who has walked in the shoes of an unemployed graduate would understand fully.

What then is the solution? Setting yourself apart from the rest of the unemployed graduates in your field. Here are some tips to help you differentiate yourself and become more marketable in the job market.


Job shadowing

Have you already decided on the exact career path you’d like to follow? Aim to gain experience in that field first before you try to apply for a job. Many recruiters are reluctant to hire someone who does not have on-the-job experience.  Ask to shadow someone and learn some of the skills you will need to ‘get your foot in the door’. While this may not be formal employment, you will be adding to your set of skills in that field, and that might be just what you need to be set apart from the rest.

Tap into an existing ability / talent

Many people have natural talents and abilities that they don’t even use. It could be that you’re a good baker or good at organising and planning, use that to your advantage. You can do that in the time when you are still searching for formal employment.  This will also add to your C.V, further setting you apart from other graduates who are merely relying on their qualifications.


Whilst you’re waiting for that phone call or emailing to confirm that your job application was successful or that you have been short-listed for an interview, it would help you in a number of ways to start up a project or to get involved in an existing project. If it’s something that already exists, then you can lend your skills to numerous elements of the project: research; activations; fund raising and finance; marketing and social media or even training of volunteers.

Keeping busy like this will keep you excited and motivated as well. Do not despise humble beginnings and be patient with yourself. Greatness takes time.

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