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“Stop college habits,” lawyer advises job-seeking graduates.

  • May 31, 2024
  • 3 min read
“Stop college habits,” lawyer advises job-seeking graduates.

Collins Wanderi, a distinguished lawyer and the current chairman of the Kenya Institute of Forensic Auditors, has a story of perseverance and determination. Graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1996, Wanderi’s journey was marked by significant financial challenges. He could only afford bread and soda for the family, friends, and relatives who attended his graduation.

Wanderi’s academic journey began at Giathugu Primary School, where he excelled, scoring 437 out of 700 marks. His remarkable performance placed him first in Mukurweini Constituency, fourth in Nyeri County, and 35th nationwide. He then attended Mang’u High School, where, despite financial constraints, he achieved a strong B+, securing his place at the University of Nairobi. Before joining the university, he had to deliver milk to a buying center at 5 a.m. every day for almost two years to support his education—a reality familiar to many who have grown up in rural areas.

Drawing from his experiences, Wanderi now offers valuable advice to graduates entering the job market. He emphasizes the importance of adapting to a company’s culture to secure job retention. “You must know how to seduce that job so that you are retained at the end of your attachment. Every organization has its culture, values, and doctrines,” Wanderi explains.

One critical aspect he highlights is appropriate dress code. He advises against ladies wearing extremely short dresses and revealing blouses, and young men wearing tight or ragged clothes. “Wear official attire; suit and tie if that is what the staff of the organization do. If you are in a non-hierarchy company, align yourself accordingly,” he advises. Wanderi underscores that etiquette and protocol, while not taught in universities, are essential skills that demonstrate one’s attitude and potential to fit into an organization.

He also addresses common mistakes interns and attachment students make, such as improper forms of address. “If the leadership of an organization is addressed formally as sir or madame or with their professional qualifications such as doctor, engineer, professor, QS, CPA, counsel, and so on, learn to adapt quickly,” he advises.

This advice comes at a critical time, with 50,000 graduates entering the job market from Kenyan universities each year, all vying for desirable positions. In 2013, the total number of degree holders in Kenya was significantly lower than in 2019, when it reached 1.3 million. The current number continues to rise, highlighting the competitive nature of the job market.

In conclusion, Wanderi suggests that graduates also consider self-employment. “You will not be obliged to companies’ strict regulations, and you will earn as much as you utilize your brains, since you can even multitask,” he notes. His journey and advice serve as a beacon for graduates navigating the complexities of the job market.

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