How to build connections and make it through the job market in Uganda

Not to repeat what you already know, but the likelihood of getting a job in Uganda and many other countries today is more about who knows you, than your skills. This inspires questions like;

  • How do I get people to know me?
  • None of my relatives is in a reasonable position. Shall i ever make it?
  • Can I build connections to get me in a better place?
  • How do I build connections with the right people?

To be honest, some people are better placed than others, and they stand a better chance to get connections, sometimes due to their parents and relatives that recommend them for jobs

1. Get good grades

It’s not at all occasions that the best student is the one that will get employed, but we can’t undermine the role of great academic performance in increasing chances of employment opportunities from connections. Here’s how;

  • Bright students attract new people to them.
  • Good performance on internships
  • Recommendations from teachers and lecturers.

Even though no one knows you, it’s easy for someone to decide to take their chances on you, because of your mental capacity.

Lastly, being a good academic performer solidifies and expands the connections you already have, therefore you can’t undermine its role in helping you get a job and build connections.

2. Capitalize on internships.

Let’s say you’re a couple of years into your teaching course, and you have landed an opportunity to teach in a good school as an intern. Don’t you think a good performance during this period could put you in a better place to get a job?

Yes it really can, because the school administrators aren’t blind, meaning they can see how hard you work.

Lastly, you expand your network by making friends and acquaintances with professional teachers, and you never know when you’ll capitalize on that.

3. Volunteer.

In a country this poor, it’s really hard for anyone to see themselves working for no pay. However, besides being a noble activity, volunteering can have an immense number of benefits including the following;

  • You gain experience along the way
  • Expansion of your network through making friends and associates
  • You get to learn the dynamics of the profession
  • Rejections are rare for volunteers
  • You can get hired where you’re volunteering

If you can’t afford to volunteer and have far better options, you can go ahead with them. However, the benefits of volunteering can manifest either in the long term or short term.

 Having a volunteering history on your resume can give you the merit you need.

4. Make friends and get contacts

While friends these days are not the kind of people you can largely depend on to get you where you want, it could get you really close to big opportunities. Here’s how you can make friends.

  • Meet and greet new people
  • Associate with colleagues
  • Don’t focus on trying to ask for favors in the first place

A large circle of friends will keep you in the loop about job opportunities, requirements and what is required of you at these jobs.

5. Use social media

Social media is one of those things that have made the world a little narrower than it is, by reducing the distance between people. However, they are no longer for people who know each other only.  Below are the most prominent;

  • Facebook groups where teachers interact and share ideas.
  • Twitter communities where teachers can hold discussions and debates
  • WhatsApp forums that join teachers from different schools with usually one or two subjects in common

Again, this might not be the most effective means to expand your circle of friends and associates,  but that will entirely depend on your approach.

If you’re the kind that bumps into strangers and starts asking for opportunities right away, you, you might have slim chances at growing your network.

6. Offer free services online

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, many people learnt that the internet is not just a place for fun and games, but also for education purposes. You can provide your services through;

  • Writing blogs
  • Creating online courses
  • Creating and publishing tutorials about specific subjects
  • Writing and publishing E-books

This won’t pay off right away, I promise you, but more people will get to know you and reach out.

In addition to all this, you will start to earn extra bucks through ad revenue, book sales and donations. Soon enough, you might not even feel the need to get yourself a full-time job.

7. Politics

This will definitely sound lame, but joining politics doesn’t mean standing for a major position yourself, because you won’t get votes when no one knows you. But here’s a few activities you can participate in;

  • University politics
  • Activism on behalf of teachers, especially online
  • Strikes and demonstrations on behalf of teachers

To be honest, these strategies work out for a few people, because here, you aren’t showcasing your talent. It’s only your spirit in this.

Also, things get rough sometimes, and you might sustain injuries or worse, so this is clearly not the best of options.

8. Stay in touch with old friends.

A couple of years after high school, have you found a link to a WhatsApp group with your classmates? Yes, this is a great opportunity.

Of course, there are many times when your mates will bring out the least important conversations about the old days, and sometimes when they will stay silent.

However, keeping the friends you already have will put you at the receiving end of opportunities, and you won’t feel awkward asking if they know someone who knows someone.


Looking for a job has always turned into a job for many people, but the smartest way to cut through the large numbers straight to the job is through connections. If you’re a bit introverted, this shouldn’t worry you, because you don’t have to talk to everyone or become a party animal. All you have to do is pick the specific people you want to connect with.

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