Finding internship and volunteer jobs seems like an easy task for many people. After all, how difficult can it be to find a place where you will provide labor for free? However, this is often not the case. Applying and landing an internship or volunteer job can be as hard as applying for a permanent job. The vast unemployment rate in Africa only adds salt to the wound. As a result, those graduating from college cannot secure permanent employment, let alone internships and volunteer work.
Finding internship and volunteer jobs has therefore become burdensome for young Africans who are yet to explore life. It is quite frustrating when you cannot locate a decent source of income, yet you have labored hard in college to make life better.
The novel Corona Virus Disease has made matters worse, given the massive loss of jobs that has taken place over the past one and a half years. Nevertheless, there is never a night that could defeat sunrise, and there is hope for young Africans.
Here are some tips to help you could find internship and volunteer jobs here in Africa.
How to Find Internship and Volunteer Jobs in Africa
Identify a Niche Industry and Specialize in It
Most times, as a young student, you may not have made up your mind about the industry you specifically want to work in. As such, it might be quite taxing having to weigh the pros and cons of the various options you would want to settle in.
However, identifying your area of preference and strength should be your first step in securing volunteer work or internship. Doing this enables you to identify the companies or agencies that you would fit in perfectly. In addition, this filter makes the process smoother and precise.
Search for These Opportunities Online
The internet and social media have made it easier to find many opportunities without physically looking for them. Nowadays, the government, NGOs, and companies advertise volunteer jobs and internships online to reach a larger audience.
Numerous websites such as Opportunities for Africans, Careers in Africa, Nditoeka and My Jobs in Kenya post these advertisements. Thus, it is prudent and worthwhile to search for job adverts online. Doing this allows you to explore as many opportunities as possible, increasing your chances of landing on one.
Create a Network
Going on a job hunt alone can become pretty strenuous. Therefore, it is advisable to pinpoint a seasoned professional in your field of interest to become your mentor. Having someone to coach you and walk you through the whole process significantly lightens the burden. Since they have more experience in the field, they are better positioned to guide on what to and what to avoid.
Another important thing to do is to join a team of like-minded individuals. That includes people searching for similar volunteership or internship opportunities, mainly your classmates in college. Forming this network group, where people share openings for others to try their luck, is beneficial. It broadens your probability of finding a job. Furthermore, the encouragement you receive from these people will go a long in making the search interesting and endurable.
Perfect and Specialize Your Curriculum Vitae
One of the reasons you might not be landing any internship is because of providing a cliché CV. In this resume, you only state general qualities that are more often than not common to everyone. Including qualities such, ‘competent,’ ‘hardworking,’ ‘punctual,’ and ‘fluent’ does not make you seem better than the rest.
Instead, it would help if you focused on your best skills, which make you stand out from others and portray your character as a perfect candidate. Therefore, you should strive to provide a unique and up-to-date CV or resume that highlights your strengths.
Market Your Skills on Social Media
Advertising yourself on social media is one of the most effective ways of finding working opportunities. That’s because marketing your qualifications in online platforms exposes you to potential recruiters who may want to reach out to you.
But to achieve this, you must portray the unique skills you possess in the best way possible. That means creating eye-catching online profiles. An excellent place to begin is LinkedIn, as many organizations utilize it in finding ideal candidates.
Participate in Community and Volunteer Work While Still in School
This might not be an in-the-moment piece of advice. However, if you foresee that you will need to partake in volunteering or internship in the future, this is something important to consider. Taking part in local community work and volunteer jobs improves your general profile and gives the recruiters the impression that you can do the same in their company. As such, it is worthwhile to participate in community-based activities, no matter how small they may be.
Take the Risk!
Fear is one of the factors that hold back a lot of youth in Africa. Gathering the courage to apply for these volunteer and internship jobs in companies you have identified is crucial. Confidence is the key in this process.
Many people hesitate to apply for jobs in large organizations, thinking they are under-qualified to fit in. On the contrary, most companies appreciate individuals willing to try their luck. Therefore, finding an opportunity calls for a risk-taking attitude. More importantly, apply to as many organizations as possible to increase your chances of getting a placement. Who knows, you could get invited to more than one company.
Finding a volunteering job or internship is an excellent place to begin your career life. The good thing is that securing these opportunities is a possibility for anyone. All you need is to identify your area of interest, recognize your strengths, promote your skills on social media, create an award-winning CV, establish a network, get involved in community service and take the leap. But, more importantly, believe that you have what it takes to get the best opportunity in your country and around Africa.