Hey recent grad. Congratulations on your recent graduation. It’s been years and years of attending classes, tutorials,reading and hustling for good grades. Well, all that is over now. Now it’s time to move on to the next phase of your life. In this phase, a lot of things are slightly different now, here you may need to choose any of these paths; landing a job, building a career, or living life on your own terms, all these are a part of your daily struggle. Here, there are thousands and thousands of other highly qualified graduates in the system who mostly are either unemployed or underemployed. Now, you are probably seeking how to choose your own path and walk it confidently and without fear, but how? How can you find your place in the scheme of things as a recent Nigerian graduate?

The game has changed.
Times have changed now so it’d be stupid to just sit around doing nothing as a fresh graduate. The world is fast changing and world development largely depends on identifying and solving problems in the society. So as a fresh graduate, you want to take out time to clearly discover your own personal calling for your career path. Meanwhile, there are a number of career paths you can choose from. From seeking employment, to getting enrolled in a graduate internship program, to choosing to go for further studies, to setting up your business. All of these are a great way to helping you find your place in the scheme of things. You need to identify your calling, start early and invest in the right resources, invest in yourself and also in people, by investing in people I mean building and growing a strong network base and by investing in yourself, I mean creating your own personal brand.

Are you job ready?  
What are the steps you should take to ensure that you are ready for full – time employment? First you will need to craft a professional resume. Your resume is best described as a paper representation of you. The quality of your CV is the difference between landing you the interview to that dream job or not. Therefore the importance of this document cannot be overemphasized, and as such it must be well prepared to make you shine and stand out from the pack. So very important, you will first need to find out how to write a killer resume or preferably seek for professional help in crafting a killer resume.
Next, you need to work on building and growing a strong network, this will save you a lot of unnecessary time job seeking. Your network is your access code into the corporate world. It can enhance a smoother entry into the corporate world. Truth be told, connections are very important in our society now and the people you know make it easy for you to attain results much quicker and easier, as opposed to not having a strong network. Presently, most SMEs hardly advertise job vacancies mostly due to costs involved, and as a result only key players and few employees of most organizations are usually aware of any available job vacancies, that is why it is crucial to take active steps to build a strong network, this way, you will get first hand information whenever there are hidden job recruitments going on and not just that, but you may also get hired just like that without much effort from your end, so take building of networks seriously. It is indeed serious business.

Take volunteer jobs.
Seeing as you’re a fresh graduate, taking volunteer jobs will prove useful in giving you the necessary experience you will need to further advance your career. And not only that, you also get to serve society using your unique skill set. However, you need to bear in mind that the goal of any volunteer service is not in the financial reward, although some volunteer jobs actually come with stipends and other benefits. And not to mention that when permanent and better roles open up in any company, the interns or volunteers within the organisation are often considered first before other applicants are contacted. So look out for volunteer jobs around you and apply.



Skill acquisition.
Of course seeking for full – time employment isn’t the only path you can take as a recent graduate, you also need to equip yourself with relevant skills to better prepare you for an effective career. Now that you have a university degree, it is more than necessary that you seek more knowledge by acquiring skills that would set you up for a fulfilling career. There are a number of professional courses and certifications you can undergo to help you stand out from the lot, just do your homework and research relevant professional courses and certifications to back up your own unique field of study. If you are going into digital marketing for example, you could start the professional course to learn how you can build your digital marketing agency. Skill acquisition is a very relevant path to take in developing your career. If you will continue to be relevant and move up the rung in your career and industry, you need to engage in continuous personal and career development. Read relevant books, take professional courses, attend professional seminars that can build you up.

Furthering studies…
Getting further studies is another solid option for fresh Nigerian graduates, either to simply satisfy your desire for knowing more, or to gain a professional qualification required by prospective future employers. “The decision about whether to do a postgraduate course is a difficult one” says Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). But if that’s what you choose to do, you have to turn that experience to your advantage. One of the most depressing situations for a recruiter is to ask someone why they choose to take a postgraduate course and hear, ‘ I didn’t know what else to do’, or to ask what you gained from it and hear, ‘ I don’t know’. That means you haven’t moved forward one jot”
Although in my own honest opinion, I feel some certain fields of industry requires that it might be valuable to gain a professional qualification or a master’s degree. So, first you will need to research whatever sector you’re going into, to really find out what is going to make you stand out, what is going to make you a more desirable candidate. Is further studies going to profitably accelerate your career in the long term, or would relevant experience get you where you want to be? You need to first carefully analyse the ‘added value’ of any course you choose to take and carefully explore all the opportunities it presents. What is it that you will gain from your studies that will impress Recruiters? Make sure that you have the answers to these questions.

Set up your own business?
Here’s another great path you may need to consider as a freebie. I’m a total sucker for business so forgive me if this section may seem as if I’m tryna recruit you into the business world. I strongly believe fresh graduates are the best candidates for business. Think about it, right now you’re probably bubbling with many cool business ideas, so why not implement them? You got years and years of study and professional training, you are in a better position to proffer sustainable solutions to world problems, and this is the major selling point of every business: it’s ability to rightly identify and solve problems in society ( of course for profit ). You stand a chance of learning tons of new skills, just by going into business, largely due to the fact that entrepreneurs thrive on multiple skills to help them improve their products and/ or services. Business men and women are constantly trying to improve the life of their customers, and to make them feel better about the products and/ or services they offer, they are always seeking ways to fill customer needs. Check this out, the world’s highest earners are business men and women. It doesn’t even matter how high you may think you can earn as a graduate, it doesn’t even come close to what you can earn from doing business, trust me. The top 50 richest people in the world currently are business men and women. I mean regardless of any career paths you may considering, I believe all should have income generation at its heart, if not a its major priority. So from me, if you’re dying to be super rich, join the club. Start up your own business. There’s a lot of lucrative business ideas out there which are guaranteed to make you really rich, with patience and hardwork you’re sure to one day hit the jackpot!

To conclude, ” whatever you decide to do, whether it’s applying for jobs, approaching companies for work experience, considering a new course, or interviewing for a gap – year project, try not to take knock – backs too personally, says Carl Gilleard. ” it can be quite a shock to get your first rejection, especially as many graduates today have done nothing but succeed. They’ve done well at school, they’ve got into their university of choice and they’ve come out with a good degree. Then suddenly someone says, ‘sorry we don’t want you’. Dear graduate, this is my advice to you. Life can be tough especially now that you’re still struggling to find your place, but trust me you will only get better with time. The future is much brighter than you think. Be happy!
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