Finding a job in South Africa when you are a graduate is a challenging and tedious process that requires a lot of energy, persistence, and money.
After graduating, the majority of graduates use the spray and pray approach where they send out their CV’s to multiple employers (spraying) and hoping (praying) to get a call back with a job offer.
This lands many on wrong career paths, working under harsh conditions or being exploited.
But there might be a lot of contributing factors that might drive one to desperately hunt for a job after graduating. But it’s always better to plan your career pathway in advance before completing your studies to ensure that you secure a successful career with a good employer.
You might already be looking through newspapers and online career portals for a job but one of the best things you can do for yourself while studying or right after completing your studies is to find a mentor in your industry
But many will ask where do I start looking for a mentor?
Through professional associations: Depending on the industry you are in, most professional associations have professionals willing to mentor graduates entering the job market. You can join these professional bodies through social networks, online programs and networking events.
Through your institution: Some institutions have a career center with mentorship programs. If your institution has such a program, enroll as soon as possible, so that you can take the skills you learn through with you to the workplace.
If such an opportunity is not available at your institution, you can always approach your professor, instructor or even more experienced students.
From institution alumni database: most institutions have a database of their alumni, who are professionals already in the workforce, who possess skills and experiences that can help you structure your career.
Through volunteering: If you volunteer for organizations that align with your passions and goals, you are bound to meet someone who would make a great mentor.
Learning from mentors experiences, even if they might be different from your own, can prove to be invaluable as you progress through your studies and begin seeking graduate programs.
Mentors are a great resource to have because they usually have been where you would like to go. They know the steps you need to take and often have ideas that you maybe have never thought of. So rather than walking blindly into your career path, a mentor can guide you.