In the words of Julia Kononchuk: " I realized that this was my chance to improve my life "
Before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Julia Kononchuk was studying at the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. She won a scholarship to study in Great Britain and was supposed to begin university there in the fall of 2022, but her visa was not granted in time. After looking for a job in Kyiv, she was discouraged by the lack of opportunities. According to a national survey, as of April 2022, 53 per cent of Ukrainian men and women who had a job before the war were not working and there were 168,100 unemployed women as of September 2022, according to the State Employment Service. But everything changed for Kononchuk after she found the Women for the Future project, which fights gender inequality in the labour market and creates additional opportunities to improve the economic capabilities of Ukrainian women.
I began autumn of 2022 in a state of despair. I finished my bachelor’s degree in journalism, won a scholarship to study in Great Britain and was ready to go, but I was not given a visa in time, so I had to return to Kyiv.
I started a passive job search – in 4 months, I responded to 20 vacancies and attended one interview. I was disappointed by this situation and felt that everything in my life was confused and unclear. I needed moral and expert support. At about the same time, I saw an invitation to participate in the Women for the Future project and I realized that this was my chance to improve my life, so I registered.
After joining the initiative, I realized that I don’t want to work as a journalist, but I want to develop in the humanities field. After researching the available opportunities in the labour market, I identified three interesting areas for myself: copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design.
I registered for mentoring consultation sessions. I liked the idea of talking to people who are already working in the fields mentioned above, getting advice from them, and finding out how to pursue the path that is just right for me. As a result of this consulting support, I realized that copywriting is not ideal for me, but SEO is.
After this realization, I started looking for open jobs or opportunities for SEO specialists in the closed community of women in the project. I saw an announcement for an internship at the Netpeak agency for people who want to try themselves in SEO. Although more than 500 candidates applied for the programme, I was the one who got the opportunity to do it. The internship was excellent. It gave me the confidence and the knowledge and skills necessary for employment. And based on its results, I was offered a job as an SEO specialist!
Now I work in an industry that I really enjoy at a company that values me. I feel financially secure, and I continue to develop my career despite the war in my country. And I am very grateful for such a project as Women for the Future, which supports women on the way to employment and professional development, because it is very necessary and relevant!”
This article was prepared as part of the Women for the Future project implemented by the public organization "Professionals for the Future" which is supported by UN Women’s "Transformative Approaches to Achieving Gender Equality in Ukraine" project financed by the Government of Sweden, and implemented in cooperation with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.