Unemployment in Uganda; how to survive the scourge

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, unemployment in Uganda is at an estimated rate of 80% and affects both graduates and non-graduates.

Surviving unemployment

Tips on how to beat the unemployment scourge

Unemployment in Uganda is at an estimated rate of 80% and affects both fresh graduates and other entry-level job seekers. Take an example of Jane who graduated with a second class upper degree and envisioned herself having a job right after campus. Unfortunately, this has not been the case as she has been unemployed for over 2 years despite the fact that she has applied to over 50 companies.

Like Jane, applying to so many companies despite having the best grades does not necessarily guarantee you a job. This is because the ratio of job seekers to the jobs available is high making the competition for these few jobs very stiff.

However, this does not mean that you have to take the same course as Jane. You can rise above this scourge and become one of the few Ugandans that are employed. Here are some smart ways you could follow to ensure that you do not remain in the unemployment bracket for too long.

1.Target your job search:


Applying to every company for every job offer there is does not guarantee you a job. The smart move here is to apply for job vacancies that relate to your field and the skills you have. This helps you to save time and to apply for jobs that you have a higher chance of getting.

Targeting your job search also entails targeting your Cv to fit the job offer for which you are applying. Find a Cv template most relevant to you and tailor it to the job you are applying for. All this will help you stand out of your competition.

2.Exploit your networks:

Whether it is your family members or friends, letting them know that you are looking for a job and what kind of job you seek could be one step to getting you into employment. The people you know could just refer you to a job application they have seen or a potential employer that could offer you a job.

Here are some pointers that could encourage you to exploit the networks you have:

  • One of the channels companies today use to hire people is, ‘employee referrals’; in many cases, employees of a company are the first to be informed when a job vacancy is available. They have the option of applying for the job offer or letting someone they know about the offer who could be you.
  • Companies are much more likely to hire referred candidates; companies trust their employees and believe that the people they refer are indeed competent. To better your chances, form networks within the fields and companies you would like to work for.
  • More influential people have more power; being referred by top-level executives in a company gives you a better chance to be hired as these people’s opinions are trusted more. Ensure you have such kinds of people in your networks.
  • The people referring you present you in a positive light; when someone is referring you, they are more likely to say good things about you. You could exploit the positive information about you to bargain for the best working conditions and present yourself as someone that is valuable.

The best networks are those that are able to get you ahead in life. Be sure to create and maintain friendships with the right people that could help your career growth.

  1. Exploit job sites:

Gone are the days when you would have to spend so much energy and money to look for a job. With job sites such as Brightermonday Uganda, you can apply to companies without having to spend too much money or energy dropping off your application. Furthermore, with job sites you are able to get the latest information about the job offers in the market.  

Job sites not only make the application process easy for you but could just give the advice you need to help you stay ahead of your competition. Make use of them today.

  1. Exploit social media:

social media

Social media is another smart way you could get information about the latest jobs in the labor market. Many companies advertise their vacant positions on platforms such as facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn.

Furthermore, who you present yourself as on your social media accounts could either land you a job or not. To determine this, here are some questions you should ask yourself;

  • Is my social media persona appealing to a professional?
  • Are my social posts respectful?
  • Does the information on my social media profiles sell me and the rare skills I have?
  • Are my connections and networks on social media relevant?
  • Can I exploit these connections (followers and friends) to my advantage?
  • When someone checks out my profile, what do they think?
  • Do the pictures I post portray me as a professional?

Remember to clean your social media accounts and ensure they present you as a professional person. Many employers today consider what you represent on your social media accounts to hire you.

Social media is not just used to communicate. Use it to land your dream job.

5.Exploit your talent and hobbies:

Do you like to sing, can you dance or tailor clothes? The talents you possess make you unique from other job seekers and could be your source of income.

Here are some steps to follow should you ever think of turning your talent into a career:

Step 1. Find out what makes you unique; Figure out what talent you have that is rare and makes you stand out. Even when you could be able to do what everyone else can do, find out what makes your service unique. That uniqueness is what will help you stay ahead of your competition.

Step 2. Research and Develop that talent; now that you know what makes you stand out, continuously improve that unique talent. This helps you master your art and gain more expertise about it.

It is also important to find out as much information as you can about the kind of business you would want to get into in relation to your talent.This exposes you to the strengths and gives you insight on how you can minimize the risks you could encounter as you turn your talent into a career.

Step 3. Find out what your potential market needs; say there are so many designers in the market, what unique designs do you think you can come up with that your potential consumers could like and need? It is very important to study the market you are going into. This means, knowing your competitors, what they offer as well as what new creative ideas you could bring. This all makes you stand out.

Step 4. Advertise what you have to offer and take over the market; starting a business can be very scary. However, it pays off in the long run if you follow the right steps. Advertise what you have through medias such as social media and word of mouth after which you can then begin to provide your service. Be sure to give it your best so that you can retain the customers you get and gain more.

  1. Exploit growing trends:

In the past, trends such as creating and running businesses online were not that big. However, these trends have grown and many people earn a lot of money from them. Knowing the latest trends such as digital marketing and exploiting them to your advantage could just provide you employment.

Although some of these trends may not earn as much money as the traditional jobs at the moment, there is no doubt that they will be much more relevant in the future. Why not jump onto them now and secure your future?

7.Exploit internship and volunteering opportunities:

Some internship and volunteering opportunities pay very little or nothing at all which could be very discouraging for you as a job seeker. However, you should look at the bigger picture. In as much as these opportunities may not earn you a lot of money, they give you the invaluable experience you will need in your job search.

Ensure you learn as much as you can from these opportunities and add them to your Cv. They often represent the experience you could have gained from a particular job. Furthermore, some companies provide impressive interns with permanent jobs after their internship period. Therefore, should you be given such opportunities, take them on and do your best.

8.Exploit the time you have to improve yourself;

make time

Without a job or school to go to, you are bound to have loads of free time. What you do in this free time could help you gain skills and knowledge that could be relevant for you in the future. Instead of watching television the whole day or sleeping, use the time to find more information about how you can grow your career, better your Cv or how to better handle interviews.

You could also enroll for free online courses or attend workshops from which you could gain more information and network with potential employers. Whatever free time you have, ensure that you are exploiting to help you be a better person.

9.Be optimistic:

One of the reasons some job seekers lose out on job offers is because they become too pessimistic and simply stop their job search. Much as the job search process is one that can be very frustrating at times, do not give up. Keep applying and hoping that one day you will land your dream job. The kind of attitude you have as a job seeker could just help you or derail you. Be persistent and patient; it always pays off.

Getting a job in Uganda is not easy. However, the smart tips above could just make the job search process easy for you and help you avoid being unemployed for such a long time as Jane. Apply them in your life right away.

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