How to adapt to a changing job market after you leave university

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Many Jamaican graduates leave university bright-eyed and hopeful at having completed 3 to 4 years of higher education. With such prestigious qualifications – a whole undergraduate degree – surely, a dream job is just on the horizon. 

The truth many graduates discover is that it’s a jungle out there fraught with many perils. One peril many well-researched and conscientious graduates never foresee is a change in the job market.

Competition tightens for entrance into their desired field and many mice enter a race for one thinly sliced piece of cheese. Fear not, weary traveler. Here are three ways you can adapt to the changing job market after university. 

After leaving university, you have entrepreneurial bargaining power 

After leaving university, it’s important to recognize that you’re like a business offering a service. You’re offering your time in exchange for money. You either agree to do business with a company looking for services you offer or you decline. Having come to that understanding, the world broadens before you. 

You can think of offering your service in a more unconventional way to many prospects instead of to a single company. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and are happy to contract a worker as opposed to a full-time employee.

Do a bit of reading on making a solid business proposal and step boldly into the arena to deliver that knock-out blow. If you fail, get up. Shake it off. Fine-tune your approach. You’ll only need to win once

Seek out internships and training programmes.

A university has only truly succeeded if they can produce a well-rounded and employable graduate. They want their graduates to speak well about their university experience and encourage others to sign-up. With this in mind, university programmes in Jamaica tend to require that individuals take courses outside of their main field of study.

These then become transferable skills and these skills are further enhanced by experience. Apply for internships and training programmes in well desired areas that are related to what you’re. One place to look if you’re under 29 is the HEART Trust/NTA. They offer a Graduate Work Experience Programme (GWEP) that gives recent graduates training and job placements.  

Internships and training programmes are like handy plug-ins alongside your degree. Suddenly, your resume looks as if it’s popped a few steroids. 

Just because a job isn’t advertised doesn’t mean it’s not out there. 

Many times in seeking job opportunities, we tend to only seek out the popular job boards. The problem with that is you’ve joined the boxing ring with the other mice again. 

Popularity generally means a crowd, and your chances are slimmer against those who have been in the game for a while. Look to some less popular job boards and you could see yourself winning a bit more. 

With that said, I leave you with this final note. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. Humans are adaptable and the will to thrive is a powerful thing. Turn on your will and trudge on, traveler.

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