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Job Seeking in Uganda – Entering the Modern Uganda Job Market Print
Image Entering the Modern Uganda Job Market

These are tough times internationally, regionally and even nationally, and almost every single fresh, young graduate is out there searching for job openings.

In fact, individuals are so desperate these days that they even settle for component time job openings. The global economic crisis has led to each and every major organization cutting costs by downsizing and that means trouble – not only for graduates, but also for experienced veterans. So when one seeks to return to work on the continent, it requires proper soul searching.

Opportunities in Specialized Services

It is consoling to note that as economies such as Uganda continue to open up, opportunities that previously either were the preserve of the developed world, or for expatriates, are now be accessible to the Diaspora community.

Today, Uganda has opportunities for specialized services in the oil sector, humanitarian relief and emergency sectors, among a host of others. These opportunities are diverse and competitive and call for unique approaches to benefit effectively. This article attempts to outline the techniques that can be used not only to seek opportunities in Uganda but also in other African countries.

Did you know in Africa generally including Uganda that a huge percentage of available jobs are never advertised? Over 90% of job seekers apply to job postings through newspapers. Only a small percentage of employees find their jobs through private employment agencies.

As economies such as Uganda continue to open up, opportunities that previously either were the preserve of the developed world, or for expatriates, are now be accessible to the Diaspora community.

Having returned to Uganda it is imperative to note that finding a job takes planning and persistence. Using a variety of approaches will improve your odds of finding the right job with the right employer.

While you're searching, you should also be aware of the employer's perspective and to understand that perceptions may be vastly different. Successful applicants will need to be professional, prepared, and presentable, but, above all, be able to adapt to the needs of their 'new' environment.

Job Seeking Strategies

Today's job seekers in Uganda need the best preparation possible for their job search. It is not sufficient to display degrees, diplomas and certificates from a distant university or college and experience from Europe, North America or Canada. The following strategies will help you land the job that's right for you:

  • Develop a résumé that showcases your skills and abilities and is tailored to the specific job for which you are applying in Uganda.
  • Remember to try and grasp local perceptions of the industry you seek to work in, be it petroleum, health or agriculture.
  • Develop your network of contacts; the more people who know you are looking for work, the better your chances of finding work, and this network will also act as an orientation arena.
  • Contact prospective employers directly from wherever you are in Europe or North America. After researching the business, call and ask to speak with the hiring manager or other appropriate contact (such as a specific departmental manager). Enquire about possible openings; this will give you the feel of the industry that you are targeting and perhaps act as a motivation to return.

Using a combination of methods is essential for a successful job search in Uganda or any other African country.

It is essential to develop a strategy that works best for the occupations you are seeking, while remembering to adapt it to local conditions. Ask questions like: how did others in the same or similar field find their jobs? Was it through networking, a head hunter, a newspaper advertisement, a posting on a web site or with a government agency?

Answers to these questions may offer crucial leads to the success of your job search. Always remember that just like in the developed markets, one size does not fit all, so develop a job search campaign that targets your specific career goals in Uganda or any African country.

Multiple Methods

Talent and experience are essential ingredients in ensuring that any job application stands a high chance of success. In today's dynamic Uganda, the best method for getting a job is identical to the sales process followed daily by millions of people in the sales profession. A first-rate salesperson will use a multitude of prospecting methods in order to make a sale. Each has its pros and cons, but if multiple methods are utilized, one of them will come through, every time. As a returnee, one should consider taking the same diverse prospecting approach with a job search.

Research, however, is the number one prospecting method that is not adequately utilized by returnee job seekers who may assume rightly or wrongly that their international qualifications, experience and exposure are enough.

A big mistake is to think that because a company, especially a large one, is based in Europe or North America, it does not have a location in Uganda, East Africa or Africa. Companies or organizations often have a presence in multiple locations, for instance, the US based General Electric has regional representation in East Africa, while Sumsung, Nokia, Coca Cola, Google, Mobil and Total all have some form of representation in East Africa and Africa generally.

Today, in Uganda, a job search is something that anybody can perform, but converting an interview call into an effective job is something only a few people can do. Remember therefore that one needs to groom oneself and understand how to speak properly. The art of communication is a really useful skill and one needs to learn how to read body language – this will come in handy when one is attempting to identify what an interviewer wants.

When one does finally find a job, one ought to guarantee that one has the skills to maintain it and to perform reasonably well. It is essential that one's employer is, if not impressed, at least satisfied, with one's performance.

A last, handy tip; prior to appearing for a job interview, candidates should do some research on the organisation and its background. Try to understand any local factors beyond the traditional qualifications and experience. That way, one can impress the person on the other side of the table with one's understanding about the firm, and this works every time. Welcome to seeking professional jobs in Uganda!

Written by Collison Lore, ReConnect Africa Uganda

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