In Nigeria where I live, unemployment rate is climbing by the day. Every year, millions of graduates are churned out and thrown into the job-search market aka labor market to compete for jobs. Lots of people are tired and frustrated.
I have a
few lot of things to say on this matter.
Firstly, that there are no jobs in Nigeria is a big fat lie. Yes, I said it. There are lots of job in Nigeria. Maybe not enough to go round but as I write this, so much business happens in Nigeria and even more can and will happen. Humans are needed and would be needed to run these things – hence they would always be jobs for people to do.
The issues most times are – Are you well suited to do these jobs? And are you able to convince the business owners that you are?
I think that especially in Nigeria, a lot of job seekers are vague. They just want a job with no specifics. This ought not to be. This I learnt from a book by Godwin Benson, CEO of Tuteria. The book, How to Get a Job Without Applying Like Everyone Else explains in details how to do just that.
I would outline a few basic principles that I have learned (mostly personal experience) that would very quickly get you out of Job Hunting.
- Be intentional and deliberate. Know what you want. This might take you some days, maybe even weeks. But you have got to decide what kind of job you want to work at and also the companies that’d give you that opportunity.
- Knowing what you want, you need to reach out to the people. I first learned the concept of cold emailing from Mr. Godwin’s book. And I tested it with a multinational. Truly, I wasn’t going to work there because it wasn’t quite what I wanted. But yeah, I did send a cold email to the HR Director herself. I got a reply in a week! She is in charge of the whole African Group so I was really surprised and pleased that I got a personal reply. Of course, she didn’t ask me to come resume the next day. But she did point me in the right direction and told me the things I’d need which would have more than helpful if I was to pursue it.
- Ready Yourself. When you get a job test/interview invite, lots of people get caught up and do not actually prepare well. They think they do, but they don’t. And that is sad because, there are many tools to your disposal. One I love so much is Nairaland. There would most likely be a thread from a previous recruitment exercise by the company in question there. In some cases, you can find past questions and with these, prepare yourself.
My father is one of the best fathers in the world (I’m serious!) For every interview I attended while I was job hunting, my dad for like three days before the interview would print out like 20, 30 questions from the internet and have me seat in front of the family (sometimes dressed in my suit) and answer those questions one after the other, again and again. Now to be honest, this helped me a whole lot. One time, I was asked one of these really mad brain teasers at an interview. I answered almost immediately (only because the night before my dad had asked me something similar). I recall the woman interviewing me looking up so sharply and asking if I had been asked that question before. I said ‘no’ because I hadn’t. She was visibly impressed and I did get the job. My point? Prepare… whether before a mirror or someone… just prepare. Read wide and vast, prepare!
- Don’t fall your own hand (This means do not disappoint yourself) There are some little (actually not so little) factors that can influence your getting of a job.
One I’d like to talk about is your use social media. Guys, this is so important in how people, your recruiters see you. Imagine having a SnapChat filter on your LinkedIn profile picture – that is just unethical. No one is arguing your beauty with you but some things are flat out unprofessional. Avoid such things, they actually matter.
Another common one is arriving late. I never ever understand it when someone tells me, he or she got to an interview late. Here is why: No one really takes you serious if you arrive late to an interview, scattered and trying to get yourself together. My point? Better super early than a minute late.
If you stay in Lagos, you’d understand the difference an extra 5,10 minutes at home can make. Dress appropriately, be smart and confident – these are some extra tips on how not to fall you hand.
- Consciously Build Your Network. Even though my career is young (really really young), a few people have reached out to on LinkedIn to ask me one or two questions about organizations I’ve worked at. I am often gracious to answer to be best of my knowledge and many others are willing to do that too. Don’t be scared. Reach out… not with “Help! I need a job” but firstly with an “Hi, I admire your job role and also your workplace… I’m looking to get such role soon. I’ve done blah blah, Can you help me with a few questions (then you ask intelligent questions about the job role)…”
That way, you are building a relationship that matters. You can also ask how recruitment is done and who knows? That person may be instrumental to getting in, assuming there’s an open role.
My point? Reach out. And when you do, ask the right questions.
Now, I’m not even going to bobo (lie to) you guys, the people in your network are very key in this process. So you might need to reach out to those uncles and aunties. These days, connect (your network) matters but people do not just give jobs anyhow. Most times, all they’d be able to help with is to get you an email or send in your application to the right email. The test, interview is entirely on you. So do not take it personal if it doesn’t work out. It is most times not their fault.
Someone reading this may be saying, “I really never have the needed qualifications..” and I can relate that. I know that most big companies in Nigeria benchmark they candidates to just first class and second class upper university graduates and that can be frustrating for a candidate with a lower grade. On this, I’d like to say that so many other jobs (well paying jobs) do not quite require a nice pali (certificate). Search them out and be sure to develop your self to fit such a role. My point? People would hire you if you can prove to them that you can add value to their business.
Even if your dream job hasn’t come, never be idle – find something to do. Volunteer, Intern somewhere, learn a trade/skill, or take a professional course. Before you complain of money, I need you to realize not all these things would cost you money. Also, you need to add value to yourself even if your dream job isn’t here. That way, even recruiters would take you serious as opposed to when you’ve been idle in waiting.
Finally, keep trying. It can be annoying and frustrating, I know. But you are closer to your dream job today than yesterday.
This has been a long read (and write for me, lol). I hope with has been useful.
If you made it to this point, please give yourself a tight hug for me. lol… I mean it o
Thank you for reading! Kindly share, like and leave your thoughts as comments. I really would love to read your experiences or lessons 🙂
PS: This isn’t a paid advert for Mr. Godwin. lol…. But that book is essential for every job seeker. It did help me a lot of my journey.
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