Help! I need a Job; The Cry of the Average Nigerian Graduate
‘The ups-and-downs of my job search’
These are days when the definition of the 20th century and the 21st century is a whooping difference in academic investment and its returns. Here are the days when expectations have been cut incredibly short without explanations. Behold the days when judicious efforts may not necessarily bring timely results. Observe the days when your affiliations with nobody famous means affiliations with slow successions of outcomes.
‘Wish I could turn back the hands of time’
My dad told me that in his days, jobs looked for people and not people looking for jobs. He said Youth Corp members aka corpers were highly placed since they were few and of course, the percentage of graduates most universities turned out were just about one-tenth of today’s population. People looked at corpers as accomplished kings, they were so swift when it comes to giving you free things with the mindset that you might remember them for their acts when you become a multi-millionaire in the nearest future. Corpers were announced with joyful rounds of applause and songs from the members of the organization they were posted to. The zeal to work effectively and stand as a good citizen of the country was always inherently available. Motivation and regular rewards were also not far-fetched in his time.
‘My hopes are so high’
All along my anecdotal experience, I envisaged a better tomorrow as soon as I am done with this degree of a thing. I read my books with my sweat and blood, I would skip meals to meet up with classes and extra tutorials and my weight was always on the downward tide at the end of the academic semester. As if that was not enough, the school library became my second room because I virtually spent more hours there than the off-campus room I rented. I reduced my number of friends, visitations and avoided time wasting conversations, I only attended extra-curricular activities that appeared to be compulsory especially if attendance will be taken. After exams, I practically shed warm tears each time I don’t meet up with my targeted score for each registered course for the session. All I hoped for was a better tomorrow that would pay off my emotional debts and make me forget all my awful sacrifices. Sometimes, I smile to myself and say, ‘it will get better someday’.
‘Is this the reality?’
Few months later, I got into the real world after my highly-celebrated graduation and was told to fill in my full academic details during the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) registration. I gladly did; thinking I will be posted to a multi-national company so that I could do something related to my course of study, after all, I carefully filled in my details correctly, hence, I deserved a good posting. Alas, weeks later, I was posted to a small local primary school in one of the Northern states of our beloved country, Nigeria. ‘Oh, my goodness’ was all I could say and I started preparing to travel down to my state of service. Got there gracefully and encountered another dilemma – the students were far below my expectation in thoughts and deeds and all I could do was struggle to teach them to understand the basics. However, I constantly drew consolation from the fact that the service year will soon be over.
‘What’s happening to my time?’
Months after, NYSC ended and I started looking forward to getting employed soon. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months but no company got back to me, some companies had age limits and minimum years of experience which really restrained me. I nearly got tempted to carry a placard on my head to announce my biggest want. My parents were getting really worried because they needed me to reduce their financial burdens after school but hey, jobs were not forthcoming. Afterwards, I took a little step of faith to submit my C.V in places where there was no visible advert placement for vacancy, who knows, I might just be lucky. You certainly know how those receptionists are quick when it comes to telling you to drop your C.V (with little or no feedback!).
‘Hello, is anyone there?’
‘Does anyone know what I am passing through’ I thought, as I began to feel an ounce of frustration after every unsuccessful attempt. Suicide was definitely not an option (would that get me a job in hell?) but shame was my constant aide. I had prepared for interviews, ironed my corporate clothes, rehearsed my speech but all was to no avail. Then it dawned on me that I really needed help. Who is going to help a brilliant chap like me? What exactly is it that I am not getting right? Are my academic exploits not enough to take me to my desired heights?
Then it occurred to me that I needed to takeoff from this point, hence, I started thinking about incredible things. I got involved in the following activities and they worked!
Help I need a Job The Cry of the Average Nigerian Graduate
- An impressive C.V – Go through the internet to check numerous professional C.V looking polished and attractive. Make sure you re-construct over and over again to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the position needed. You seriously needed to convince the hiring manager. You need to describe your abilities and fit for the role you are applying for.
- Conferences and motivational talks – You cannot afford to have your self-esteem nipped in the mud so you better start listening to people who made it. This will arouse your confidence greatly, besides, you can also go ahead to kick-start a one-to-one conversation with some of the key speakers. I bet you, you will start feeling like an already fulfilled man.
- Use the social media – Following people’s handles (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc.) is as easy as clicking a button. There is nothing bad in following as many relevant people as possible. Through that, you can get other information about conferences, trainings, job placement and voluntary services. This works like a referral. If I found an organization that I thought was interesting, I would research it and use LinkedIn to see if I knew anyone there directly or an extended network indirectly. I would also search for a name I noticed on the targeted company’s page, look for him/her on social media, and then connect respectfully.
- Subscribe to Job websites – There are several job websites and portals now in Nigeria (e.g. Jobberman, Ngcareers etc.). Take advantage of them and check your mail regularly for daily updates. An organization you are really looking out for might be hiring soon and you wouldn’t want to miss the notification. However, be careful of fake ones (false recruiters, product sellers and abductors) that have little or no solid testament. After you have seen the advert on a job website, go ahead to confirm it on the specific company’s website and be careful of weird company names you cannot find on Google.
- Follow up – This is a surefire way to separate you from the crowd of other qualified candidates. Kindly request for the number of the receptionist or contact person because you need to show some level of seriousness to get a job in Nigeria. You need to remind them, send a text, use WhatsApp messages, make short quality calls (don’t show your level of worry) and don’t start saying stories that touch, they have seen enough of that and it is not new to them.
- Take up a voluntary work – For the meantime, participate in an event, be a volunteer that can work with little or no pay. Set your mind at getting contacts, starting conversations, getting business cards and learning the skill required in the voluntary work. I once heard of a graduate having a hard time getting a job; he eventually took up the job of a bank security guard. Few months later, he got an amazing job by consistently conversing with people who came for bank transactions, telling them about his qualifications and willingness to work.
- Invest in other skills – There are diverse skills you can learn which can give you an edge over other job seekers. Skills related to your field of study will be much better. Computer and technical skills cannot be over-looked in any organization. Hence, spend that time investing in yourself before you get that dream job.
- Take advantage of free trainings and network – The Government is gradually investing in youths and entrepreneurship through trainings and seminars and guess what? Most of them are usually free or almost free. The fact is, you can go for all the free ones, related to your job description or not, you never can tell when you will need those skills in the future.
- Be open to other fields – This means starting out with any offer different from your profession pending the time you will get your desire. Don’t just sit at home whiling away the time in the process of looking for your dream job. Be open to position you might not have considered earlier, you might be surprised to fall in love with the job later on and venture into it the more.
Finally, smartness, consistency and relentless determination will get you to be whoever you want to be in life. In this part of the world, you need to always think and that’s the basic reason you were given a brain. Develop yourself, believe in yourself, go for it, do something different, and don’t ever give up on yourself because winners never quit.
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