Youth encouraged to gain competitive edge

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Young people are being encouraged to make themselves more marketable so that they can take full advantage of opportunities available throughout the world.
The advice comes from Jamion Knight, who is an associate programme specialist for communication and information, in the UNESCO Office for Central America. Knight, an Antiguan who has lived in Paris and now resides in Costa Rica, said that he was shortlisted and given the opportunity based on his competitive edge over other applicants. “When you apply for a job, you have to make sure you possess the sort of qualification that would put you in contention. I’ve met many persons that have spent many months volunteering in Africa in refugee camps with orphans. If you speak one language and the other hundreds of applicants speak three, then you are already at a disadvantage,” Knight said.
The U.N. programme specialist said that that effort should be spent on improving one’s personal skills and qualification. “If the only volunteer work you have done is for your school and 60 applicants spent an entire year after high school travelling the world, then you are at a disadvantage.
I think it is a question of, irrespective of country and nationality, how we can improve to allow us to be shortlisted,” he said. Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Iraq were some of the countries in which Knight said that he would be happy to work. He said that those interested in getting into highly competitive organisations can also consider applying in places where most people would not usually want to work.
He added that those less-attractive areas will allow the applicant to add the wealth of unusual experiences gained to their résumés. Knight said that showing an interest in those lessattractive areas and successfully completing a stint can be a stepping stone.
The programme specialist said that as an employer he would be more inclined to consider an applicant who spent a year volunteering in a conflict-torn country, over an applicant who has the same level of experience in “the Bahamas.” In his capacity at UNESCO, Knight is responsible for promoting freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and access to ICTs in Central America. In 2003, Knight was named Island Scholar. He gained his master’s degree in Diplomacy from the University of London. He is based at the UNESCO office in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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