Property Week has adopted six University of Reading real estate students. Read their latest updates at PropertyWeek.com/professional.
This month, Matshelo Chimbombi reflects on how to enhance your professional profile

Matshelo

A great man once said: “After climbing a hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

I have come a long way since my first day as a student at the Henley Business School, part of the University of Reading. And it has been an interesting ride. As I prepare this blog, I reflect on some of the pivotal moments in my life as a real estate student.

Writing for Property Week definitely counts as one of the highlights of my student days. When I received the email inviting me to participate, I was sincerely happy.

This would be my opportunity to highlight some of my successes and I shared the good news with my family back home in Gaborone, Botswana.

I also shared the story with my professional family, which consists of my Reading mentor, LaSalle Investment surveyor David Robinson. What I did not realise at the time was that this was also an opportunity for me to document some of my challenges.

In my previous blog, I closed on the note that I was out of options. My failure to secure a graduate job in the UK dealt a blow to me personally. To a large extent, this was because of my myopic view. I know I am a good student, therefore employers should be lining up. How come this wasn’t happening? Throughout my academic life, I have never had to re-sit or redo anything. My first attempt has always yielded positive results. Looking for a job therefore turned into a test of my character.

Many students throughout the UK are in a similar situation. We work hard to get the grades. Once we have the grades, we assume that guarantees us a job. Sadly, that is not the case.

Sometimes we forget about our peers. A lot of students graduate from prestigious universities and the degrees we obtain are, to a large extent, identical. What truly sets us apart are our distinctive qualities. Finding and evaluating our uniqueness is the mammoth task employers are faced with. Therefore, when seeking employment, it is the ones that make this job the easiest that are successful.

I decided to carry out a SWOT analysis of my position. In July, I will be one of two Botswana students who have qualified in real estate from the University of Reading. In the whole of Botswana, there are only three candidates for the class of 2012 real estate/estate management graduates. Obviously, this is a major strength.

The incentive to seek employment in Botswana is great. The opportunity for me is that I get to take part in one of Africa’s thriving economies.

However, I would like to gain more international experience and the threat is that I may not develop professionally. To address this, I plan to charter through RICS in neighbouring South Africa.

On balance, my pursuit of securing a graduate job just got very interesting.

Finally, let me take this time to wish all 2012 graduates all the best with their career endeavours.