A lot of free time, but little money. Those are the constraints of many unemployed people, and not only in Uganda. This makes it sometimes difficult to find what to do. Especially since no work structures your daily routine. Yet, it is crucial that you use your free time to do constructive activities – and not only look for a job.
Let us be honest: no one searches for a job 8 hours a day. A study by Alan B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller showed that most unemployed people spend less than 30 minutes a day looking for work. Which leaves a lot of free time in your hands. We gathered some advice to help you use this time in a way that will make you more attractive to recruiters.
Get a fixed schedule and organize your days to be efficient in your job search
We cannot but underline the importance of having a rhythm. You can find the one that suits you best. If you are more a morning person, try to wake up early and do things when you are efficient. If you are a night owl, then do what you need to do in the evening and stay in bed until late.
But, when you apply for jobs, it would be advisable to do it during working hours. Indeed, if companies see that you sent your application at 2am you will not make a good impression. Now that you got a defined time-frame, fill your schedule with activities that will be valuable to employers.
Volunteering is valued by recruiters
Volunteering not only keeps you busy but can also give some meaning in your life and make you meet new people. You should definitely add this kind of experience on your resume. It will be well seen by employers. It shows that you are dynamic and care for others.
If you can, try to indulge in activities related to the job you are looking for. For instance, when I was looking for a job in communications, I worked with the property show as a social media volunteer.
Develop new skills to add to your CV
Do you think some key skills are missing on your resume? It might be the right time to take some classes to solve this. For instance, how good are you at report writing? Not that good? It might be a good idea to enroll for classes. If you do not want to pay for classes, you have other options. You can improve your skills on the internet by watching free classes online.
Do it and write down the lessons learned. Whatever you fail to understand, go ahead and ask for help. Try to practice a bit every day – it is much more efficient than working only one day per week but for eight hours! Always start your session by summarizing what you learnt the day before; it is good for your memory.
You can also take some computer classes if you are not that computer-literate, or programming classes. There exists some serious websites that allow you to enroll in various classes without having to pay for anything, called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes), such as EdX
Do not forget to exercise skills you already master
For instance, if you already have a good level in computer skills, do not forget to exercise every regularly. Practice makes perfect and those skills fade rapidly from your mind. If you suddenly have a job interview where they test your computer skills, you will not have time to get ready so do not let your skills get rusty!
Read the news and be prepared for interviews
It is also important that you read newspapers on a regular basis. Read the ones that cover your industry. Be informed of major evolutions and new trends. Employers will want to hire someone who is aware of what happens in their field. You have a great advantage, since you have a lot of free time and can read a lot about what is happening.
It is the right time to become an expert in your field! There is much information on the internet where you can find some high quality blogs. If you are afraid you might forget what you have just read, take notes and write a brief summary of your readings every day.
Networking and making connections can get you the job you want
Are you looking for a job? Go tell the world. There is no point waiting alone in your room. Go out, meet friends, friends of friends, and family. At least one person will know someone who is hiring or can give you advice on how to apply and insider tips. Do not leave anyone ignorant of the fact that you want a job.
You can also find many events dedicated to people who want to network. so what about trying to enter those circles? For instance, if you want to work in online business, why do you not meet people who work in online marketing? It is the easiest way to meet employees in the industry you fancy. And since you read the press, you will have many topics to start a conversation with them! Do not forget to drop in the conversation that you are looking for a job after chatting for a while.
Freelance and help friends to add more work experience on your CV
Being unemployed does not mean you cannot earn any money. You can do some freelance work, and there are plenty on the internet. You can basically look for short missions in your field of competence. For instance, if you are good at speaking English, you can find some translation jobs from English to Sinhala. You can also gain experience by helping friends who need your skills for their business. Are you a graphic designer? You can create posters for a friend’s event for instance. Again, do not forget to add this experience to your resume!
Use the internet to look for job vacancies online
As mentioned before, there are many opportunities on the internet. You can find information (newspapers), get trained (free classes), but the internet is also the best way to find employment in Uganda. Jumia Jobs is an employment portal with many opportunities in Uganda. You can browse job opportunities from accounting, NGOs, Oil and Gas etc.
– By Peter Kisadha