So you send out 20 application letters, wait for months for a response and nothing comes, instead you find out that the person who was less qualified than you was offered the job.

You spend many years studying overseas, acquiring international experience and yet when you return to Zambia, you spend a whole year trying to find employment and no one seems to see that value in your experience or qualification.

You spend four tough years at university, your parents struggling just to raise school fees and yet when you finally graduate and start looking for employment, you are told you do not have the experience to be offered a job. You look around and the person who may not have been the most intelligent person in your class is already working.

In fact, they already have a company car, have bought a house and hold a senior position in their organisation. You don't understand why some people are so lucky that they receive invitations to attend interviews even when they have not sent out a single application letter.
There are many reasons why some people do not struggle to find employment.

I do realise that many people have concluded that it is because some people are 'well-connected' and that is why they don't struggle to be employed. This is a myth and a mere excuse. Whilst finding a job in a market that has very few opportunities may be a bit of a challenge, one can still succeed in the job search process, depending on how you package yourself, what strategy you are using to find employment, how determined are you to find a job.

A week ago I received a phone call from a frustrated father who could not understand why his son could not find a job two years after completing university. I asked the man where his son was looking for employment and how many applications the son had sent out. He told me that he had posted about ten applications and received no response so he just gave up. This story is the same with many job seekers Yes the jobs are limited but then you must ask yourself how come others are able to get employed even when they are not connected.

I want to urge you to first forget the myth that all jobs that are advertised in the newspapers are just a formality. Trust me, it is very expensive to place an advert in the print media and no company would waste scarce resources advertising for a job if they already have a potential candidate. So if you see a job that you feel you meet its requirements in a newspaper, apply for it.

Ask yourself who are your networks? Who do you interact with, where do you spend your time? If I was to do an audit of your contacts in your phone whose names would I find? How many managing directors, human resource managers, recruitment companies and many other possible networks phone numbers do you have in your phone. If none, then where are you looking for these jobs? You have to start building networks of people who may assist you in the search process, they may not give you the job but they may refer you to someone who is hiring.

Find yourself in associations and networking groups that will link you up with professionals that can guide you. I know that the excuse is always you do not have money to join associations, my question would be have you ever approached the same associations, asked to be a member and that you would pay your membership at a later date? I am confident that you have never done that. What is the quality of your CV, does it sell or market you well.

Remember that in your absence, your CV speaks on your behalf. If it is in a mess then you will not be noticed, and are you ready for the interview process. I often sit on interviewing panels and my heart breaks to see a person with a brilliant CV lose a job opportunity just because they did not prepare properly for the interview. Seek the services of someone who can coach and help you prepare.

I must tell you at this point that because companies have become extremely particular as to the quality of personnel they employ, they often use recruitment consultants to help them find these professionals. In most cases, clients will insist on the headhunting method.

This is a simple method where market intelligence is used to locate a particular skill in a person wherever they are in the world. Armed with the qualifications, experience, personality, attitude and competencies needed by a company, recruitment agencies make phone calls, send emails, approach institutions, associations who help point out to the people they believe are the best in their respective profession.

Upon identifying that person, consultants tell them of the opportunity available and find out whether they are interested in the job on offer. If they are, a meeting is facilitated with the clients and before you know it someone receives a job offer without writing a single applications letter. Ask yourself, are you headhunting material? Have you developed yourself and your career to an extent that you become a magnet for jobs, where you sit with 5 brilliant job offers and you can't even decide which one to select?

To find a job, you have to adopt a strategy that you have never used before, you must pound the streets every day, you must start to build quality networks, you must know where and how these jobs are found, you must speak to qualified recruitment consultants who can guide you. You must be ready to invest a little into having your cv designed, or attend interview coaching or joining institutions that will expose you to people that can assist you find employment. As I always say, keep trying till something works out. You cannot afford to give up.

The author is a human resource consultant with Prosoft Human Resource Solutions. For any suggestions and comments please email visit www.miyandamaimbo.com (external link) you may also connect with me on LinkedIn or find my fan page on facebook Miyanda Maimbo and like it or contact 0979472850.