Advice: Qualified and running out of ideas

2012-07-30 11:41

Phuti Meletla asks ...
I am an unemployed youth who has been unemployed for more than six years.

I studied Agriculture Animal Production at TUT and obtained a National Diploma and BTech degree in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

After being at home and not finding a job I returned to school to further my studies in 2010 and completed an Honours in Agricultural Management at the University of Limpopo.

I did this to upgrade my qualifications, thinking the ones I had were too low to be employed, but I have been applying since then with no luck.

I also worry that every year there will be new graduates who increase the number of unemployed youths, making it even more difficult to find a job in this country.

Expert answer: Kgomotso Gunya
Dear Phuti

Your worry about the number of new graduates increasing ever every year is a reality we are faced with as a country.

The question for every unemployed graduate is: “How do I ensure that I stand out from the rest?”

From your letter I understand there have been jobs you have been applying for with no luck.

While it is important to improve one’s qualifications, it is also important to gain skills that are in balance with the qualification.

You do not mention any action plan you took to gain and improve your career skills and this could mean that there may be a different way of approaching the job hunting process.

Something to note is that if your CV has mistakes they may be viewed as a sign of laziness or lack of communication skills by your prospective employer.

The following are the things that you can keep in mind when applying:

» The quality of your CV should be of a high standard;
» Research the industry and target career opportunities and advancement; and
» Align the skills you have with the ones prospective employers are looking for and devise a plan on how to get those that you lack.

Expert answer: Dr Wim Nell
A degree alone will not ensure that you will get a job. As Kgomotso has said, you must have the skills to do the job that you are applying for.

In addition to being an agricultural development consultant, I work for a commercial bank that is expanding seriously into agriculture and is constantly looking for qualified and skilled people on a part-time basis.

Recently, a highly qualified person applied for a job and in the interview it became clear that they did not know how to apply the knowledge they possessed.

Even though the the candidate was highly qualified they did not get the job.

Places you can approach for employment include the department of rural development and land affairs as well as the department of agriculture, which are always looking for qualified people.

The department of rural development and land affairs employ qualified people like yourself either as mentors or as managers on emerging farmers’ farms.

The agricultural co-ops, agricultural input suppliers and commercial banks are also looking for qualified people.
About Kgomotso Gunya
Kgomotso is a registered counsellor under the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

She obtained her honours in psychology at the North West University and her BA degree in behavioural sciences.

She completed her internship in career counselling with the University of South Africa (Directorate for Career Counselling and Academic Development).

Kgomotso is currently a career consultant in the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD).

About Dr Wim Nell
Dr Wilhelm (Wim) T. Nell is director of the Centre for Agricultural Management in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State.

He specialises in strategic agricultural management, precision agriculture and technology transfer.

He is also an agricultural management consultant who has made approximately 4 000 financial viability studies with a strategic focus on farms over the past 28 years.

For more information visit

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