The recent TAP and Foras.ps masterclass "Unlocking Opportunities for a Secured Future" brought together career influencers Dr Mona Demaidi, Khaled ElAhmad and Luma Khalifah to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by young Palestinian and Jordanian talents.
During this masterclass, they touched upon three recurring obstacles they see time and time again in the region: limited practical skills, scarce opportunities in the job market, and high unemployment rate. The event, however, had a more positive overall focus: with these obstacles in mind, how can you as a young professional move towards personal and career success?
The key takeaways of these three professionals revolved around proactivity, your personal branding, and power skills as crucial elements for launching and building a successful career.
In Jordan and Palestine, young graduates often have degrees that offer them limited practical skills. This results in fewer job opportunities after graduation, and ultimately, in soaring unemployment rates amongst young people who are trying to find their way in job markets that already offer them scarce opportunities.
The numbers are sobering. In Palestine, for example, the number of university and college educated young people is growing by the day. Between 1995 and 2006, the number of students in university education almost tripled. But employment post-university shows a different side of this coin: the unemployment rates are sky high. Take, for example, the field of engineering. The unemployment rate of new graduates stands at 40% in this field, with 30% for males and 70% for females. The unemployment rate in the information technology field for new graduates sits at almost 60%.
In order to overcome this conundrum - having trouble finding a job despite a university degree - Dr Mona, Khaled and Luma all three stressed the importance of taking proactive measures during what they called “the golden age” of your twenties, in the following three areas:
Navigating Social Platforms:
Khalid ElAhmad is a well-known and highly regarded LinkedIn optimization expert, who started out during this masterclass by providing insights into the distinct universes of various social platforms - including Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
He emphasized LinkedIn as more than a recruitment platform, describing it as “the world's largest database of individuals”. According to Khalid, LinkedIn offers unparalleled opportunities for networking with investors, clients, potential partners, and job hunters.
In short: it’s the place to be for young graduates.
Building Your Personal Brand:
Khalid’s generous advice, which he shares with thousands of his followers online, mainly revolves around how young graduates and seasoned professionals alike can build a compelling personal brand and harness the power of LinkedIn.
During the TAP x Foras.ps masterclass, he shared his secrets for a successful presence on this social media platform, including how to start a professional LinkedIn account as a university student and a detailed workshop on how to further develop your LinkedIn presence.
Luma Khalifah, an Instagram influencer and marketing consultant, shared how she leveraged her Instagram account and her personal branding to open doors to new business opportunities.
Luma: “All the success and reach I have over Instagram is something learned, worked on, and developed by myself. I have a phone and I have time, so I invested in teaching myself about this field. I always seek knowledge and teach myself new things”.
The key to her success, she emphasized, lies in offering your audience real value: “The secret of content marketing and personal branding is to show the benefits, not the features. Teach people for free, this is how you become an expert and start getting offers”.
Luma's success story and Khalid’s advice exemplify and emphasize the power of self-investment and continuous learning.
Power Skills for Success:
Dr. Mona stressed the importance of developing your personal power skills. These include communication, networking, public speaking, and teamwork; all essential skills in today's dynamic world.
During the masterclass, she drew from her personal experience and shared a story of a business venture that ultimately didn’t succeed: “In 2013, a fellow PHD student and I started a virtual educational gaming program. After two years of hard work, we had to close it. Why? Because we lacked all the power skills I mentioned before”.
With this story, Dr. Mona showed that you need more than just technical skills to be successful. Moreover, having emotional intelligence and making sure you have a support system in place are key factors in launching a successful venture or career, as she pointed out.
The "Unlocking Opportunities for a Secured Future" masterclass was a valuable lesson on the many paths to success for young graduates in Jordan and Palestine. In it, proactivity, personal branding, and the development of power skills emerged as vital strategies for overcoming challenges you might face after graduation.
The masterclass was a reminder that success is not just about technical skills, but also about continuous learning, adaptability, and the ability to build meaningful connections. Ultimately, the journey to a secured future begins with taking the initiative and crafting a unique personal brand that showcases the benefits you can bring to the table.
Dr. Mona, Luma, and Khalid's stories served as inspiring roadmaps, encouraging young talents to believe and invest in themselves during the golden age of their youth.